California State University, Fullerton

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Students to Present at HACU and Consult USDA Staff

Oct. 16, 2012

For biology major Miriam G. Morua, traveling to Washington, D.C., to tour the offices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to speak to USDA officials about careers there and to attend the annual Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) conference is a “fantastic opportunity.”

Anthropology majors Brian A. Cervantes and Cynthia R. Chavez and environmental studies graduate student Jose Gonzalez feel the same way. All four are on their way to the nation’s capital this week, thanks to a UDSA grant Cal State Fullerton received last year.

“On the first day of their trip, the students will meet with USDA personnel from the agencies that they would most like to work with,” said Sara E. Johnson, associate professor of anthropology, “including agricultural research, food and nutrition, the forest service, resource management and food and nutrition.”

For the remainder of the trip, the students will participate in the annual HACU conference where they will share their experiences in the U-ACRE (Urban Agriculture Community-based Research Experience) program at CSUF, which Johnson directs.

U-ACRE received a $277,500 grant from the USDA to offer community-based research experience for 10 undergraduates and one graduate student. Morua of Lennox, Cervantes of Corona, Chavez of Rowland Heights and Gonzalez of Montebello are four of the program participants.

“As a Hispanic graduate student, planning on pursuing a Ph.D. and eventually joining an agency such as the USDA, I am thrilled at the prospect of meeting with HACU and agency representatives, and asking them questions,” Gonzalez said.

“Dr. Sara Johnson has really made an extraordinary effort to open up doors for her students,” Gonzalez added. “My experience at CSUF would not be what it has been without her help.”

Thanks to another USDA grant awarded last year to Archana J. McEligot, professor of health science, and Erualdo Gonzalez, assistant professor of Chicana and Chicano studies, additional students — health science major Yansi Perez of Moreno Valley and public health graduate student Lizette Martinez of Santa Fe Springs — also will visit with USDA officials and attend the HACU conference.

Upon their return, McEligot said, Perez and Martinez will present a workshop for their peers on what they learned.

In addition, six other Cal State Fullerton students will attend the HACU conference this weekend, Oct. 20-22. They are: education graduate students Christopher Sandoval of Buena Park, and Nancy Camarillo of Norwalk; and undergraduates Christian Murillo, an international business major from La Puente; communications major Kimberly Flores of Fullerton; criminal justice major Yvette Loaeza of Fullerton; and human services major Michelle A. Vásquez Guevara of Los Angeles. The Division of Student Affairs is sponsoring their trip as a part of the Walmart Foundation/HACU Student Success Collaborative Grant.

By: Mimi Ko Cruz, 657-278-7586

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