Two alumni of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff are encouraging UAPB students to apply for the USDA/1890 National Scholars Program Scholarship before the deadline Wednesday, Jan. 31.


Daniel Perry is a 2016 graduate of agricultural economics and Jamison Murry is a 2017 graduate of plant science-agronomy.


USDA/1890 National Scholars receive full tuition toward a bachelor’s degree, books and room and board, said George Richardson, USDA 1890 program liaison at UAPB. During the summer while in college, students are guaranteed USDA jobs with benefits, according to news release.


The USDA/1890 National Scholars Program awards scholarships to students at one of 19 historically black land-grant universities. High school seniors entering their freshman year of college and rising college sophomores and juniors may apply.


Scholars must major in agriculture or related sciences which include agronomy, animal sciences, botany, food sciences and technology, forestry, home economics and nutrition, horticulture, natural resources management, soil conservation, farm and range management, pre-veterinary medicine and computer science.


“The USDA/1890 National Scholars Program has made a wonderful impact on my life,” Perry said. “Thanks to this program, I was able to go to school for free while pursing my dream of working in an agriculture-related field.”


Perry started working for the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service in Little Rock as an agricultural statistician. He was primarily responsible for working on cotton estimates.


“I enjoyed being able to compare the business side of agriculture with the production side,” he said. “The job, coupled with my experience being around agriculture my whole life, has allowed me to have a deeper understanding of how the industry works.”


Murry worked as a program specialist for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Institute of Food Production and Sustainability. He was responsible for examining research proposals submitted for funding.


“I enjoyed learning about all the programs that are getting financial assistance, especially the ones that I was interested in, such as the ‘Beginning Farmers and Ranchers’ grant, which assists new, young farmers as they get their farm operations off the ground and running,” he said. “I also enjoyed learning how the grant awarding process works and what the grant panels look for when analyzing and awarding various grants.”


Murry said the work experience had a profound effect on his networking skills.


“The program opened my eyes to the government workforce system and allowed me to have a head start in developing my career,” he said. “It also has given me the flexibility to explore different career options within the USDA to fit my interests and background.”


Murry said the fact his education was already paid for through the scholarship allowed him to focus on his studies.


“I would encourage UAPB students to apply to the program not only because of the chance for free tuition and work experience, but also for the challenge to become a better student, a better employee and an overall better individual,” he said.


Recipients are selected by USDA agencies and not the 1890 institution. Applicants must apply for admission to 1890 institutions and submit a scholar’s program packet to the universities they select. The university submits the packet to the Office of Advocacy and Outreach, which contacts the USDA agencies that make the final selections.


Applicants can apply to multiple universities, but each packet submitted must contain original signatures and transcripts or it will be disqualified, Richardson said.


Application packets are posted at http://www.outreach.usda.gov/education/1890/index.htm. Click on the application link near the end of the website.


Details: George Richardson, USDA 1890 program liaison at UAPB, 870-575-7240, 575-7241 or richardsong@uapb.edu or George.richardson@osec.usda.gov .


— Will Hehemann is an Extension specialist - communications with the School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences at UAPB.