SPECA Planning Conference Held June 5, 2017

Galveston College and Prairie View A & M University were awarded a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Challenge Grant to host a conference entitled “Food Science Pathways: A SPECA Planning Conference.” Beverly Copeland of Prairie View A & M University and Paul Mendoza of Galveston College were the co-sponsors.

The Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants (SPECA) program seeks to promote and strengthen education in the food, agriculture, natural resources and human (FANH) sciences in order to help ensure a qualified workforce in the United States to serve the FANH sciences system. The SPECA program also promotes complementary and synergistic linkages among secondary, two-year postsecondary, and higher education programs in the FANH sciences.  SPECA projects will advance excellence in education and encourage more young Americans to pursue and complete a baccalaureate or higher degree in the FANH sciences.

The purpose of the Galveston conference was to gather stakeholders to discuss expansion/realignment of the current Galveston College Culinary Arts curriculum to meet the needs of employers.  Attendees discussed the concept of tying the Galveston College associate degree program to 4-year universities for advanced education opportunities in food science; health – nutrition, obesity, wellness; organic and sustainable agriculture; and workforce development.  Invitees were leaders in community services, education, medicine, agriculture, commercial fishing, and the food industry.

James Palmer, Paul Mendoza Beverly Copeland and Barton SeaverFour speakers provided insightful and stimulating presentations to attendees between team discussions that generated novel ideas from stakeholders. National speaker Barton Seaver was the opening and keynote speaker; followed by Sharon McWhinney, Professor of Nutrition and Director for the Dietetic Internship program at PVAMU; Buddy Guindon, owner and manager of Katie’s Seafood Market in Galveston, Texas; and Deland Myers,  Endowed Professor of Food Systems at PVAMU.

Opening and closing remarks were given by Paul Mendoza, Chef at Galveston College and Beverly Copeland, Assistant Professor at Prairie View A&M University, both co-sponsors of the conference.

Photo (From left to right): James Palmer, Interim Dean and Director of Land Grant Programs at Prairie View A&M University, Paul Mendoza, chef Galveston College, Beverly Copeland, Assistant Professor, Prairie View A&M University, and Barton Seaver, national speaker, author and chef

Dr. Beverly Copeland


Beverly Copeland, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
(936) 261-5017