OSU receives $1 million for multicultural scholars, students, forestry workforce

The Center Square

Over $1 million in federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture will be made available to Oregon State University, including $250,000 for its Multicultural Scholars Program.

“Every student deserves a quality education with support and access to resources that help ensure their success,” U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, said. “These investments for Oregon State University will help to address disparities in participation in STEM-focused multicultural programs, support research and leadership for Ph.D. fellows within the agricultural workforce, and help ensure Tribal students have the financial support and opportunities to achieve educational and workforce success. I am pleased to see federal investments for a new wave of well-prepared and diverse scholars.”

The Multicultural Scholars Program is one of three programs that is getting funding from the federal government.

“Training the Next Generation of Diverse Global Food and Agricultural System Leaders will receive $250,000 to provide scholarships to recruit, engage, retain, mentor, and train multicultural scholars who will earn STEM-focused baccalaureate degrees from OSU College of Agricultural Sciences (CAS),” the release said. The funding is meant to help the school find more scholars from “underrepresented communities,” according to Dr. Ricardo Mata-Gonzalez, Associate Dean of Academic Programs for the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University.

“There is a shortage of skilled college graduates to fill positions in agriculture, food, and natural resources areas. This shortage is especially evident in underrepresented communities. The U.S. population is undergoing a rapid increase in minority college-age residents; however, enrollment, and especially persistence, of these students in colleges and universities still lags behind,” Mata-Gonzalez said. “Our goal is to bridge this gap, providing scholarships to recruit, engage, retain, mentor, and train multicultural scholars from underrepresented communities that will help develop the larger society in terms of equity, economics, and respect for the environment.”