"Latino students face many barriers, including the need to provide for their families financially, parents who lack understanding of the value of a college education, U.S. citizenship, and lack of knowledge of borrowing and financing options," Thompson said.
Thompson believes the most powerful piece of this program are the Latino role models leading the efforts to increase opportunities for Latino students.
"The purpose of these NSF grants is to build a model that can be replicated by others," Thompson said. "All of the researchers who joined together at U of I to create these opportunities have written a lot of science. But this program isn't as much about science as it is serving students as mentors and role models."
Villamil said Thompson's involvement has allowed their group to promise results because of the infrastructure already in place.
Rodriguez Zas said she expects the New Biology Fellows will become role models for younger students and agricultural ambassadors who can reach out to the Latino community.
The fellowships are being offered by the U of I departments of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Agricultural and Consumer Economics, Animal Sciences, Crop Sciences, Food Science and Human Nutrition, and the Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability.
Applications are due March 4, 2011. For more information and a complete list of project collaborators, go to http://bighorn.animal.uiuc.edu/urmnb.
|Contact: Jennifer Shike|
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences