Agricultural Sciences

Multicultural scholars visit for math, science in agriculture

University Park, Pa. -- Outstanding central Pennsylvania high school juniors and seniors from diverse racial backgrounds visited Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences for a two-day, hands-on laboratory experience May 1-2 on the University Park campus.

The students, who have demonstrated high scholastic achievement and a strong interest in math and science, completed a two-day rotation of labs in biological engineering, environmental resource management, food science, immunology and infectious disease, and toxicology, said Randi Congelton, director of multicultural programs in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

"Agriculture is one of Pennsylvania's top industries, in terms of production for the state and high levels of employment, but many top students don't know about the scientific opportunities available in cutting-edge fields," she said. "During this visit, they not only were able to do hands-on research activities but they saw that agricultural sciences are much more than just cows, sows and plows."

Beyond the laboratory, the students toured the campus, visited Penn State's Beaver Stadium, interacted with Penn State students and got a feel for college life. Juniors and sophomores from SciTech High School in Harrisburg and Milton Hershey High School in Hershey were among the participants in the experience.

"This experience was geared mainly toward multicultural students because they usually are not exposed as much as other students to agricultural sciences and the wide range of careers available," Congleton said. "It could be a much-needed exposure for students of color to such agriculturally related fields as immunology and infectious disease and toxicology.

"The goal is that the students and their chaperones learn that agricultural sciences have changed a lot in the 21st century, and our college has moved forward with the changing times. We are making a difference in the lives of people, trying to make connections in hopes of recruiting strong math and science students."

For more information, contact Randi Congelton by email at or by phone at (814) 865-7521.

Last Updated May 11, 2009