UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Alumni from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences talked about their experiences at Penn State and their influence of their skilled careers, as visitor audio system on a minority alumni panel hosted by the school’s Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Milton Newberry III, Megan Wilkerson, Archie Williams and Adriana Diaz shared their tales with school and workers, the Diversity Coordinating Council, and college students, together with the Penn State chapter of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences.

Newberry, a 2007 graduate of the wildlife and fisheries science program, serves as director of the Sustainable Technology Program at Bucknell University.

With a grasp’s diploma from the University of Georgia and a doctorate from the University of Florida, Newberry labored for a number of land-grant universities, serving in educating, analysis and extension roles. His sustainability and conservation work has taken him to Costa Rica, Belize, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, the Carolinas and Rhode Island.

Milton Newberry III

IMAGE: Milton Newberry III

Originally from New Jersey, his curiosity in wildlife started the day he spied what he described as an “ominous figure with piercing eyes” in a tree close to his elementary college. He realized it was a turkey vulture.

“It opened its giant wings and flew away, and from that point on, I was hooked,” said Newberry. “While other kids were reading popular fiction, I was reading books on reptiles, insects and birds.”

Highlights of his undergraduate years embody conducting analysis below the steering of Duane Diefenbach, adjunct professor of wildlife ecology, and taking programs taught by Gary San Julian, professor emeritus of wildlife assets.

“The experiences I had at Penn State continue to impact my life,” stated Newberry, who performed trombone in the Blue Band. “And the trials and tribulations I faced — including failing and repeating a chemistry class — helped me grow.”

Before receiving a dual-title doctorate in entomology and in international agriculture and development in 2018, Wilkerson earned levels from Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, Georgia; and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee, Florida.

Attending Penn State was a difficult transition, stated Wilkerson. “It was a huge adjustment because I attended historically black universities, and here I was at a predominantly white university in a small town,” she stated. Wilkerson discovered her manner by becoming a member of the Black Graduate Student Association, studying to elementary college students throughout Black History Month, and overseeing one of the studying stations at the Department of Entomology’s Great Insect Fair.

Megan Wilkerson

Her mentors included Deanna Behring, assistant dean for worldwide applications; Gary Felton, head of the Department of Entomology; and Patreese Ingram, assistant dean for multicultural affairs, all from the school; and Stephanie Preston, affiliate dean for graduate academic fairness in the Graduate School; and Amy Snipes, affiliate professor of biobehavioral well being, College of Health and Human Development.

“I surrounded myself with like-minded individuals,” Wilkerson stated. “Though they did not all look like me, they thought like me and had the same passion.”

She performed analysis and labored with smallholder farmers in Trinidad, South Africa, Mozambique, Cote d’Ivoire, Lebanon and Ghana. Wilkerson now serves as chief of the Pesticides Branch at the Department of Energy and Environment for the District of Columbia and teaches local weather change and carbon discount at the University of the District of Columbia.

Williams, of Decatur, Georgia, holds a grasp’s diploma and a doctorate in agricultural and biological engineering, having graduated from the school in 2006. He is head of the Department of Engineering Technology and professor of agricultural and organic engineering at Fort Valley State University. His analysis space is bioenergy and local weather change, with pursuits in agricultural sensors, synthetic intelligence, mentoring, pc purposes, instrumentation, neural networks, renewable vitality and biofuels.

Penn State broadened his horizons multiculturally and professionally by offering alternatives to work together with professionals in the discipline. “We were allowed to expand our interpersonal and technical skillsets,” said Williams, whose wife, Monica, also completed graduate studies at Penn State. “If you wanted to learn new skills, someone was more than happy to teach you.”

Archie Williams

There had been challenges, one of which concerned his doctoral diploma protection. “I was focusing more on pleasing the members of my committee than on why my research was important,” he stated. “This was a difficult lesson to learn, but with the guidance of Paul Heinemann, my mentor and academic adviser, I refocused and came to realize that regarding my research, I was the expert in the room.”

Williams’ recommendation for college kids is to develop a various group of mentors and to community.

“If you don’t already, learn to love yourself,” he stated. “You are valuable, uniquely created, and your perspective, ideas and experiences are not trivial.”

Diaz, who grew up in Puerto Rico, acquired a bachelor’s diploma in community, environment, and development in 2018. She additionally holds numerous certifications in the domains of enterprise growth and enterprise analytics.

Adriana Diaz

As a enterprise growth analyst at SupposeWell, a company that focuses on well being and well-being, she secures new enterprise and offers analytical assist. Before becoming a member of SupposeWell, Diaz, who resides in Arlington, Virginia, labored at Social Impact in Washington, D.C.; Save the Children in Washington, D.C.; and the Banco Popular Foundation in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“I decided to work in international development because I am highly passionate about bringing sustainable change by forming innovative, contextualized solutions,” she stated.


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