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Enhancing Hispanic Access to Natural Resource and Agricultural Careers through Education Mentorship and Training "ENHANCEMENT"

09-04-2020 - New Mexico State University (NMSU) aspires to work collaboratively to transform the educational experience, increase accessibility and workforce opportunities for students in natural resource and agriculture through a new program, ENHANCEMENT. ENHANCEMENT brings faculty across five NMSU campuses, including four community colleges, and mentors underrepresented students (graduate and undergraduate). We prepare students to transfer from community college, excel at a 4-year degree and ultimately transition to careers by providing tools, experience and mentorship to succeed. These programs enhance competence for professional positions and contribute to workforce diversity. This project offers graduate and undergraduate students summer internships, faculty laboratory mentorships, near-peer and professional mentoring, and travel to professional meetings. We train students to conduct outreach for internships and resumes to high schools, and 2 & 4 year institutions. Undergraduate students will interact with the graduate students by developing research linked to their graduate student mentor's research and faculty supervise these mentorships. We have worked with the leadership at NMSU-Las Cruces to institutionalize on-the spot hiring events with USDA FPAC, and institutionalize programs that foster a clear transfer pathway. To accomplish our goals, we have gathered a strong and dynamic team with backgrounds spanning post-secondary education in biology, natural resources and agricultural education; high school student outreach programs; and federal workforce personnel.