California State University, Fresno faculty members Hernan Maldonado (Minority Engineering Program) and Segun Ogunjemiyo (Geography) were recognized today as E. (Kika) de la Garza Fellows in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions National Program.
They are among 20 faculty members nationwide selected from Hispanic-Serving Institutions, accredited degree-granting institutions of higher education with a Hispanic student enrollment of 25 percent or more.
The USDA fellows program was established in 1998 as part of the USDA-Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Leadership Group, a national body appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture and the president of HACU, a San Antonio, Texas-based association founded in 1986. The goal of the program is to advance USDA’s relationship with participating Hispanic-Serving Institutions and enhance fellows’ professional growth, while fostering workforce diversity and strengthening the nation’s capacity to provide high quality education and increased opportunities for Hispanic-Americans.
Fellows, who were selected by the USDA through a competitive process, work collaboratively with scientists and managers in Washington, D.C., to learn more about research and management issues and to collaborate with the USDA on food security, biotechnology, landscape horticulture and agribusiness.
“We are pleased and proud to partner with the USDA and we are excited about this 10th annual class of fellows,” said Dr. Antonio Flores, President of HACU. “A program such as this gives the USDA an advantage over other Federal agencies, since it creates long-term mutually beneficial relationships between the USDA and HSIs and ensures that Hispanics are incorporated into the agency’s long¬term strategic needs.”
The E. (Kika) de la Garza Fellowship, named for the Texas Congressman who chaired the House Agriculture Committee from 1981-1994, is divided into four categories, each tailored to meet the interests of fellows and provide them with an enriching experience over the course of several weeks.
Maldonado, director of the Minority Engineering Program at Fresno State, was selected as one of 15 Education Fellows. The fellows learn about the education policymaking process by meeting with officials in various federal agencies, including the Department of Education, Housing and Urban Development, the Department of State, as well as USDA.
Ogunjemiyo, assistant professor of geography, was one of three science fellows selected. They will collaborate with scientists from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and learn about the latest agricultural research of concern to the Hispanic community.
Fellowship program: http://www.hsi.usda.gov. HACU: www.hacu.net.