CORVALLIS, Ore. — The Oregon State University student chapter of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) won the national Chapter of the Year award, presented recently at the annual career fair and training conference in Overland Park, Kansas.
In addition, three students received research awards, and four were elected to national and regional offices. Smit Vasquez-Caballero (Ashland, Ore.) received first place for his work on "Farm and non-farm level economic impact of migration to USA on rural Mexico." Ankita Juneja (Ludhiana Punjab) won first place in the graduate research poster contest, "Iron impregnated biochar as a catalyst for decomposition of toluene."
AnnaRose Adams (Ashland) won third place for her work on "Response of habitat-specialist fish assemblages to overgrowth of the hydrocoral Millepora complanata by the crustose alga Ramicrusta sp."
Certificates of Excellence for oral research competitions were awarded to Deepak Kumar (Muktsar) and Eva Arndt (Dallas, Ore.). Arndt also was named national undergraduate president-elect; Martine Torres (Lake Oswego, Ore.) and Juneja were elected undergraduate and graduate student vice presidents for their region; and Smita Biswas (Kolkata) was named the new national professional treasurer.
Membership in MANRRS is open to all students at all levels from high school to graduate school and who come from a variety of colleges and departments, although more than half are from the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences.
"Many students rate high academically but being in good standing is all that's required," said Wanda Crannell, the group's advisor. "A sense of belonging and working together on shared activities are important for the vast majority who are the first in their family to pursue higher education." Each student is mentored by upper classmen, professionals from industry or faculty members from OSU or the 70 college chapters across the country.
Students claim that the professional skills they learn are invaluable, as are the opportunities to network. "MANRRS cultivated the shy freshman to a senior, ready for the next step in life, graduate school and careers," said student Laura Cristal Magaña. "It's given me the courage to speak in front of hundreds of members, professionals and industry representatives."
The national MANRRS mission is to "promote academic and professional advancement by empowering minorities in agriculture, natural resources and related sciences," Crannell said.
"The OSU MANRRS chapter is the most diverse and actively engaged in professional development, leadership and community service projects in the nation."
"We provide mentoring and networking opportunities, connect students to available resources, conduct workshops for professional development to help students define and achieve their goals, provide community service opportunities to promote active citizenship, and support the College of Agricultural Sciences in meeting its diversity related goals."