James Becerra, lecturer with the landscape architecture department, has received a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Science fellowship.
The E. Kika De La Garza fellowship program gives faculty from Hispanic-Serving Institutions the opportunity to learn about federal agencies that support research and education. Fellows spend a week in Washington, D.C., from June 23 to July 17, and two to four additional weeks at a selected research location, increasing their understanding of USDA and other federal agencies.
Becerra says he’s honored to receive the scholarship and is enthusiastic about the opportunities that it provides for him and the rest of the landscape architecture department.
“Landscape architecture is not about backyards and swimming pools,” says Becerra. “We deal with land usage and water usage, and water policy is decided at the federal level, so it’s a very obvious connection. They will affect what happens in landscape architecture in the next ten years.”
James is praised for getting his students involved in community-based projects, including his recent work with Homegirl Café in Los Angeles.
“Sometimes we tend to get too practical, and James is always very much pushing the envelope,” says Kyle Brown, director and associate professor at the John T. Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies. “He really does a good job of putting together interesting and unique projects for his students that go beyond just designing a space.”