Will Hechman | Faculty of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences
Belinda Demmings, USDA UAPB liaison, said 16 students at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) can earn their degrees tuition-free thanks to the USDA/1890 National Scholars Program.
“The USDA’s 1890 National Scholars Program awards scholarships to students attending 19 historically black land-grant universities in the United States,” she said. “The scholarship covers the student’s full annual tuition, room and board, books and fees.”
Demmings said 1,890 National Scholars gain internship experience at USDA agencies and must compete for USDA employment immediately after graduation.
“Not only do academics finish their studies debt-free, but they also leave USDA institutions with work experience,” she said. “The experience and professional connections they gain during their internships often set them up for a solid and promising career trajectory.”
UAPB’s current USDA/1890 scholars are Jaylon Robinson, Messhriya Harris, Justin Webb, Charles Colen, Justice Walton, Jacqueline Price, Hezekiah Kirkwood, Jameka Harston, Courtney Miller Jr., Collin Branch, Jordan Robinson, James Quincy Robinson, Erikton Goodloe, Tyler Garrington, Joshua Holloway and Halle Robbie.
“I’m very proud of our USDA/1890 scholars—all of whom have shown tremendous dedication to the agricultural sciences,” Demings said. “I know their stories and successes can inspire other UAPB students, as well as other 1890 students, to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime scholarship opportunity in the future.”
Meet some of the UAPB’s USDA/1890 Scholars
Roby is a second-year plant science major. Although she was born in Pine Bluff, she grew up and graduated from high school in Woodbury, Minnesota. She chose to major in plant science after participating in the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s AgDiscovery program, which is held annually at UAPB. Soil and plant science piqued her interest most during summer camp.
she says, “I applied to the USDA/1890 State Scholarship Program because it provided me with exceptional opportunities. After two internships as a soil conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Georgia, I am confident of the scholarship.
I was excited when I heard that I was awarded a scholarship for 2022. Now, I can continue working at NRCS, but in a different field – as a soil scientist in the soil division. My training experience at NRCS has been investigating/designing stacking shed work with engineers and entering conservation practice payments into a computer. “
James “Quincy” Robinson
James “Quincy” Robinson is a senior computer science student from Marion, Arkansas. His love for computers started at a very young age. In high school, he worked at a local tech store, and later, he attended UAPB’s STEM Academy.
Robinson said he knew the USDA/1890 National Fellowship Program would help him earn a degree and training to serve people. Since joining the program, he has completed three internships with the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS). He trained in web design and software development at the National Genetic Resources Conservation Laboratory in Fort Collins, Colorado. At the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, he gained experience running automated tests.
He says, “I am excited to start the next step in my life with the help of USDA and am very excited about my internship. I have gained a lot of real-world experience working with them and learned a lot about the agency and how it works knowledge.
My mentors have been great, making sure I understand not only the ARS system, but the systems of other USDA agencies and other federal departments as well. I would like to get a career at USDA ARS helping them with system and security updates. “
Hezekiah Kirkwood is a sophomore majoring in Nutrition and Food Science from Kansas City, Missouri. She will complete her internship as a full-time working assistant at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
Kirkwood said she chose to enroll in the humanities department at UAPB because she wanted to help others in the community.
she says, “I decided to apply for the 1890 National Scholars Program because growing up I struggled with health issues. Now I can turn my health around by giving me a proper education through this scholarship. It provides me financially and educational factors to successfully achieve my goals, not only to help myself, but to use my education to help others in my family and community.
After being accepted as a scholar, I felt a sense of relief and accomplishment because I now only need to focus on successfully completing my studies and earning my degree, not worrying about money. I feel fulfilled because I have been given an opportunity that I have always hoped and prayed for.
In addition to the full scholarship, I have enjoyed the opportunity to network with 1,890 other scholars and other students in my field and receive mentorship from USDA staff, as well as my USDA liaison. I also appreciate the ability to change my career field by contributing to diversity as a nutritionist and naturopathic physician or epidemiologist. “
Erickton Goodloe is a junior agricultural business major in Rockford, Illinois. His parents initially guided him to an agricultural education and career.
He says, “I specifically chose the Agricultural Business major to understand the administrative side of the industry. Working on the commercial side of agriculture gave me the opportunity to gain hands-on experience helping farmers and ranchers manage their businesses.
I am delighted to learn that I have been selected for the USDA/1890 scholarship because it gives me the opportunity to do what I love without financially burdening my family. “
Goodlow has interned at the National Crop Insurance Service since his freshman year. He trained as an insurance specialist in Kansas City, Missouri.
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff provides all outreach and research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other Legally protected status and are an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.