The Illuminating Agricultural Extension and Education Career Opportunities project is accepting applications!

The United States is facing historical shortages of agriculture extension agents and teachers. With fewer undergraduates exposed to these career opportunities, this shortage will likely continue and magnify. This project aims to illuminate career opportunities for STEM and liberal arts majors at two land-grant universities in the Appalachian region of the United States.  Mentoring for the students will come from university faculty, county extension agents, and peers in the program.  Focusing on food safety, health and nutrition will address a need in Appalachia and internationally in Senegal, a Feed the Future nation in West Africa. The undergraduates from Virginia Tech and Tennessee State University will be trained in safe food handling, food preparation, and food preservation. Each of the four cohorts of students will provide extension programming in food safety, food preparation, and food preservation to household members responsible for the health and nutrition needs in the household in Appalachia and in Senegal.

The participating undergraduates will receive leadership training for problem-solving, communication, conflict resolution, decision making, and cultural competence. The students will present extension leadership programming to youth in Appalachia and Senegal. The youth training will build on positive youth development and include a module on preparing for post-secondary education.