Middle and high school students from across the state gathered on the University of Kentucky (UK) campus earlier this month, to learn about potential careers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

UK’s College of Agriculture hosted the group, Jr. Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS), with the intent of getting the students interested in pursuing a college education.

Representatives from a variety of USDA agencies – including Rural Development, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – talked with students about their respective agencies, explaining their missions and what career fields were available throughout USDA. They also were interviewed by students about their job, explaining job responsibilities and how they came to work in their career field.

Many of the students were curious about the USDA employees’ college experiences – why they went to college, what they hoped to gain from a college degree – and if any of the agencies offer internships to college students.

Junior MANRRS is a pre-collegiate outreach program of the National Society of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) for high school-aged and younger students geared towards promoting future career pathways and educational opportunities in the field of food, agricultural, environmental and related sciences.

Junior MANRRS members are affiliated with the National Society through membership with a local “in good standings” MANRRS chapter. Through Junior MANRRS, college-level students act as mentors to the pre-college aged students through effective networking opportunities with them as well as with other MANRRS student members, university faculty, and industry professionals nationwide.

Kentucky has Jr. MANRRS chapters in Louisville, Hopkinsville and Frankfort, and its members participate in national essay writing, impromptu speaking and public speaking competitions.

To find out more about careers in Agriculture click here.  To find out more about careers at USDA click here.