Dr. Zelia Wiley, center, mentors K-State Research and Extension 2018 Summer Research Fellow Victoria Parker and Lonnie Hobbs, a 2017 research fellow and 2018 co-coordinator for the program.
Extending opportunities, raising representation
Diversity programs benefit the College of Agriculture, K-State and Kansas businesses
MANHATTAN, Kan. - With support from industry, the College of Agriculture hired Dr. Zelia Wiley as the first assistant dean for diversity in the Big 12 and created the Diversity Programs Office in 2003. Since that time, the percentage of multicultural students in the college has risen to 12 percent.
Using a five-step strategy of Recruit, Retain, Enrich, Graduate and Job Placement, the college has …
- Created the K-State chapter of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) for current students and JR MANRRS and Nicodemus Camp for high-school age and younger.
- Partnered with the colleges of Business Administration and Engineering in the Multicultural Academic Program Success (MAPS) Project Summer Bridge and the IMPACT Scholars and KOMPASS programs to prepare incoming students for success.
- Hosted 54 students through the K-State Research and Extension Summer Research Fellowship program, now in its 14th year.
- Hosted 13 Martin Luther King Leadership Luncheons.
- Presented seven Wallace Kidd awards to recognize diversity accomplishments of K-State faculty, staff, and students.
- Offered in-depth "Navigating Differences" trainings for faculty and staff.
- Initiated Cargill College for a Day to educate underrepresented high school students about college.
Student success examples
Lonnie Hobbs Jr., a native of Clarksville, Texas, completed the eight-week K-State Research and Extension Summer Research Fellowship in 2017. Each student works on a research project with a faculty mentor then presents his or her results to college faculty.
Hobbs had recently earned a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness from Prairie View A&M University. He is a now master’s student in agricultural economics and a graduate research assistant in the K-State Department of Agricultural Economics, analyzing the linkage between company marketing strategies and consumer product perceptions.
"Lonnie is a great example of how the K-State Research and Extension Summer Research Fellowship program provides an excellent opportunity to not only attract and recruit multicultural students, but also help them discover and enhance their potential in research and leadership," said Associate Professor Alex Shanoyan, who mentored Hobbs’ during the fellowship program and as a graduate student.
In addition to class work, Hobbs is a graduate assistant in the college Diversity Programs Office, serves as a co-advisor for K-State’s MANRRS chapter, the Region IV graduate vice president for the National Society of MANRRS, academic advisor to the College of Agriculture Project IMPACT students, and co-coordinator for the K-State Research and Extension Summer Research Program.
He recently received a 2018 George Washington Carver Spirit of Innovation and Service Award at Tuskegee University in Alabama. Cameron Bradshaw, a December 2018 agribusiness graduate candidate, earned the award in 2017. Adriana Meneses received the award in 2016. She was president of MANRRS and graduated from K-State in 2018 with a degree in animal sciences and industry and now works for Cargill.
George Washington Carver spent his formative years in Kansas and graduated from Minneapolis High School. He was a world-famous chemist whose research on peanuts, sweet potatoes and other products helped poor southern farmers vary their crops and improve their diets.
K-State Research and Extension Summer Research Fellows, from left: Kaci Merriwether-Hawkins, Tuskegee University; Chelsea Triche, Southern University; Victoria Parker, Bria Cooper and Raymond Thomas, all Prairie View A&M University.