"I loved being able to take classes in subjects that are not offered at my high school. I also enjoyed getting to know kids who will be my peers in college and getting to know professors. It was fun spending a month with other students who all elected to come to school for another month in the summer!"  - Katherine Jolly, Class of 2014

The faculty, staff, and administration of Virginia Tech offer an extraordinary educational experience for 100 of Virginia’s gifted and talented high school students in the Summer Residential Governor’s School for Agriculture (GSA). The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences serves as the administrative unit and host college, with collaboration from and in cooperation with the College of Natural Resources, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.


To develop future leaders and scientists for careers in agriculture. Concentration is placed on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) integration within the six National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) challenge areas: food secuirty, climate variability and change, water, bioenergy, childhood obesity, and food safety.  This mission will be accomplished through rigorous courses and activities that provide hands-on, cutting-edge, scientific, and academic information.

Goals of the GSA at Viginia Tech are to:

  • Provide a rigorous agricultural educational program that will challenge gifted and talented students to study and research the scientific nature of agriculture as it relates to and affects Virginia’s largest industry, agriculture
  • Provide structured educational discourse designed to increase the students’ ability to critically think and solve problems associated with providing safe, economical, and aesthetically pleasing food, fiber, and shelter to the world’s population
  • Acquaint junior and senior students with scientific education and career opportunities available in agricultural and biological systems engineering, agricultural economics, animal science, food science, and plant science
  • Promote an atmosphere of inquiry and dialogue, with an appreciation for multicultural diversity


Major:  Each student enrolls in a “Major.” Majors include: Agricultural and Biological Systems Engineering, Agricultural Economics, Animal Science, Food Science, and Plant Science. Students complete core courses, major courses, and electives to provide an engaging and meaningful learning experience.

Global Seminar:  Students are divided into cooperative work groups to undertake a research project based around the five NIFA initiatives. The projects serve as the conceptual centerpiece for the school curriculum and provided the basis for a formal symposium and poster session that serves as the academic culmination of the month-long program.

Opportunity for collaboration

Please consider using the GSA as an educational outreach program for your externally-funded research. The GSA is funded with grant dollars received from the Virginia Department of Education. For the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, it is an annual outreach program for presenting the latest research to Virginia’s gifted and talented students interested in agriculture. Contact Curt Friedel, GSA director, for more details.

Faculty and Staff
Curtis R. Friedel, Director cfriedel@vt.edu
Brittany Hoover, On Site Director agschool@vt.edu
Governor's School Leaders
Name School Attending
GSA logo

Contact Us

Virginia Governor's School for Agriculture
Virginia Tech, Mail Code 0343
175 West Campus Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Phone:  540-231-6836
Fax:  540-231-3824
Email: agschool@vt.edu

Sponsors and Partners

Interested in sponsoring or partnering with the Governor's School for Agriculture? Contact Curt Friedel at cfriedel@vt.edu. You can also give directly to supporting GSA through the Virginia Tech Foundation.

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