USDA grant supports increased BIPOC student involvement in food, agriculture, and natural resources education

December 21, 2021

Stacy Philpott and Damian Parr of the Center for Agroecology with SUPERDAR fellows on a field trip to a sustainable farm, the Mesa Del Sol vineyard near Arroyo Seco. (Photo by Ann Hougham)

UC Santa Cruz (UCSC) will partner with California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) to increase degree attainment in food, agriculture, and natural resources education for students from underrepresented groups, including Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) students.

A $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Hispanic Serving Institution Grant Program will fund the project, entitled, “Increased Degree Attainment in Food, Agricultural, Natural Resources and Human Sciences: Creating a Regional Pipeline.” Through partnerships among local community colleges, universities, organizations, and the agriculture industry, the project will provide students from underrepresented backgrounds opportunities to obtain degrees, conduct research, and build careers in agriculture and related fields. 

UCSC will support the project through working to build mentoring, professional development, and writing skills among graduate students studying environmental studies and ecology and evolutionary biology at UCSC, and through facilitating opportunities for CSUMB students to learn about graduate study opportunities and engage in agricultural research through tours as well as a summer research program associated with UCSC’s SUPERDAR Program. The SUPERDAR (Supporting Undergraduates by Promoting Education, Research, Diversity, and Agricultural Resilience) Program, coordinated by Center for Agroecology Director and Environmental Studies Professor Stacy Philpott, provides underrepresented students independent research opportunities in agriculture, and encourages exploration of agriculture-related fields.

Philpott is a co-director of the project and will work with Greg Gilbert (Environmental Studies), Ingrid Parker (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) and Damian Parr (Center for Agroecology) to support UCSC graduate students and CSUMB undergraduates students participating in the SUPERDAR Program. Center for Agroecology staff Jan Perez will support the evaluation components of the project.