Project eagle rock

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Source: Soil Science Society of America

On Nov. 2, 50 students from Eagle Rock High School in the Los Angeles School District will participate in a large scientific-agriculture conference in Long Beach to get a first-hand look at the science of agriculture, including careers, college admission, research opportunities, and minority outreach. The conference is the Annual Meeting of more than 3,000 scientists and professionals, hosted by three scientific societies.

It is members of these scientific societies, specifically their Diversity Committee, who first had the idea to reach out to high school students. The committee chose Eagle Rock High School, primarily because of the school’s horticulture curriculum coupled with the fact that the school demographics are largely minorities, 67% Hispanics, according to Eagle Rock High School Principal, Salvador Velasco.

Eagle Rock Junior/Senior High School is an urban neighborhood school located between the cities of Pasadena and Glendale in the northeastern tip of Los Angeles. It is one of sixty-one high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District, and the only comprehensive one with a 7-12 grade configuration. The site houses both a comprehensive junior and senior high school, and a junior high (7-9) magnet program serving gifted, high ability and highly gifted students.

The Eagle Rock students will receive complimentary registration, with full access to the conference, including research presentations, products and services on display in the Exhibit Hall, and lectures by industry leaders. Most importantly says Ward is that students will be able to see the variety of careers available in agronomy, crop, soil, and environmental science. Students will have the opportunity to learn about the various academic programs offered by universities in these disciplines, including admissions and scholarship programs.

The Diversity Committee was established to “promote, support, and improve participation and contribution of underrepresented groups and encourage them to professional excellence, according to the committee’s Chair-Elect Rufina Ward of Alabama A&M University. Researchers, educators, administrators, and extension professionals are members of the committee. Ward hopes to reach out to local high schools each year in conjunction with the Annual Meeting in the hopes of sparking interest in a science-agriculture career. Next year’s conference takes place in San Antonio, Texas.

The meeting is an annual event which draws more than 3,000 scientists and is sponsored by the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America, based in Madison, WI. The Annual Meeting will be held at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center from Oct. 31 to Nov. 3. The Eagle Rock students will participate in the conference on Tuesday, Nov. 2. For more information on the Annual Meeting, visit: www.acsmeetings.org.

The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) www.agronomy.org, is a scientific society helping its 8,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications and a variety of member services.

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