A Huntley College of Agriculture staff employee has received a prestigious U.S. Department of Agriculture fellowship.
Rosa Lamas Serratos, the college’s Student Success Center coordinator, applied and was selected for the E. Kika De La Garza Education Fellowship. She will participate in the fellowship – remotely – from June 21-25.
The program offers faculty and staff from Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) the opportunity to work collaboratively with USDA to gain insight and understanding of the federal government. Participants learn about opportunities at USDA and other federal agencies that are available to their institutions and students.
Prospective fellows had to fill out an application that included a 500- to 800-word statement describing how the fellowship would help them, their work, and their institution.
Serratos’ job requires her to oversee the college’s recruitment and outreach efforts, including supervising the student Ag Ambassadors. She also serves as an academic advisor, overseeing the college’s Student Success Center, coordinating its First Year Experience (FYE) program, and supervising the student Peer Advisors.
Serratos said the fellowship will help expand her knowledge about the USDA – knowledge that she can share with the campus community.
“I will ensure our Ag Ambassadors are thoroughly versed on the latest information and can share it with our prospective students through any in-person and virtual contact,” she wrote in her application statement. “I will also ensure our Peer Advisors are thoroughly able to include information in their bi-monthly PA Newsletter, social media, in their FYE classroom interactions and during office hours with our current student population.”
“I will also include weekly posts on relevant USDA information, which is sent to our current college students, faculty and staff,” Serratos added.
The fellowship program was established in 1998 as part of the USDA-Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Leadership Group’s efforts to advance USDA’s relationship with participating institutions.
It is designed to enhance fellows’ professional growth while fostering workforce diversity and strengthening the nation’s capacity to provide high quality education and increased opportunities for Hispanic-Americans.
HSIs are accredited colleges and universities with at least 25 percent Hispanic student enrollment. Currently, there are more than 500 HSIs in 21 states and Puerto Rico, serving more than 2 million students.
Separate from the education fellowship, science faculty at Hispanic-Serving Institutions can apply for a science fellowship through the program. They can work with the USDA Agricultural Research Service or Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Science Division.
Previous fellows from Cal Poly Pomona include:
- Plant Science Professor Dan Hostetler (2007)
- Cecilia Santiago, coordinator, Cesar E. Chavez Center for Higher Education (2008)
- Thavery Lay-Bounpraseuth, academic adviser, Student Support & Equity Programs (2009)
- Plant Science Professor David Still (2011)
- Landscape Architecture Lecturer James Becerra (2012)
- Plant Science Professor Valerie Mellano (2016).