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Fellowship to UC Riverside botanist encourages Hispanic students to take up research
Date:4/29/2011

e part of a well-trained workforce in agricultural and natural resource management.

"Participating in the fellowship program will allow me to establish grants, partnerships, or other agreements with the USDA and other agencies that can provide the opportunities, experience, and training for students like Fortino to work at state and federal levels," he said."Many Hispanic immigrants in California have agricultural roots, and have both a tremendous traditional agricultural knowledge and a need to formalize this knowledge into careers in the natural and agricultural sciences. Indeed, a large proportion of the produce in Mexico is still produced on small family farms."

Santiago, the first E. Kika de la Garza Fellow at UCR, is excited that the fellowship ultimately will benefit students.

"I love working with undergraduates they bring an energy and curiosity to science that is refreshing," he said. "They are not afraid to ask challenging questions."

Morales is such a student. With a keen interest in how food, agriculture and the environment interact with one another, he was instrumental in launching the community garden on campus and is a past president of Sustainable UCR, a student organization.

"I chose environmental science as a major and have, over the years, narrowed my interest to botany and plant sciences," said Morales, who joined Santiago's lab through UCR's STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) Pathway Project and plans to take up a career in agricultural ecology. "Currently, I am researching how desert plant species in the Morongo Valley survive drought."

Another Hispanic student working in Santiago's lab is Jeffrey Ambriz, who recently graduated with a bachelor's degree from UCR and is finishing up a few research projects. Ambriz works on desert chaparral specifically how drought and embolism (blockages in plant stems) affect plants. He majored in bio
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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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