Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College and Clemson receive major grant from USDA to support multicultural scholars program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded a 5-year $439,920 grant to Clemson University to partner with Orangeburg-Calhoun and Trident Technical Colleges for the development and implementation of an innovative program in Food Science and Technology for students from multicultural backgrounds.
The goal of the program is to graduate 12 students with a B.S. degree in Food Science and Technology that will enable them to pursue rewarding careers in the food and agricultural industries.
“Feeding a growing global population is a major challenge in the 21st century,” said Clemson University President James F. Barker. “Education to equip a new generation to meet this challenge will require innovative and collaborative approaches. Critical to the success of these efforts will be the participation of underrepresented populations. This program will be a model to attract and retain minority students in our agriculture and food science and technology programs.”
“Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College is pleased to partner with Clemson University's Food Science and Technology program. Not only is this another unique opportunity to give our students a clear pathway to a baccalaureate degree, it's consistent with our focus on promoting STEM careers in South Carolina, meeting the employment needs of local industry, and contributing to the knowledge economy in our state. I look forward to additional relationships between our institutions in the future,” said Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College President Walter Tobin.
The partnership between Orangeburg-Calhoun and Trident Technical Colleges and Clemson University will be the framework for recruiting, training and mentoring students throughout the program. Students will complete two years at one of the technical colleges and then transfer to Clemson to complete their B.S. degree in Food Science.
Recruitment strategies will include motivating students by introducing them to food science career choices that offer professional advancement opportunities and that will enable them to make a difference in their communities. Faculty mentoring, student support services, and an international experience will be an essential strategy to ensure student retention. These scholars will enjoy summer mentoring activities and a study abroad expereince during their freshmen and sophomore years. Industry internships are important career training that will be experienced during the junior year.
Outcomes of this project will include a successful pipeline for recruiting and retaining under-represented students into food and agriculture degree programs and careers. The grant started August 2012 and will be completed July 2017.