By Sarah Appel, CAHNRS Academic Programs
Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) is a non-profit organization that works to “promote academic and professional advancement by empowering minorities in agriculture, natural resources, and related sciences,” according to its website. With over 60 active chapters spanning across six regions, MANRRS is impacting students across the United States.
The WSU Chapter of MANRRS strives to do just that. The chapter invites all WSU students to get involved, regardless of major and identity. Members simply need to be passionate about the “inclusion, achievement, and advancement of all people in the agricultural sciences and related fields.” Between chapter meetings, fun events, and a variety of conferences and trips, those involved with MANRRS are taking charge of their futures now.
As a new club for all WSU students, MANRRS-WSU members are working diligently to gain college-wide interest and momentum. The program launched last spring after Dr. Colette Casavant, WSU junior Letty Trejo, and WSU senior (now CAHNRS graduate student) Raul Arroyo, attended the MANRRS National Conference in Greensboro, North Carolina.
“After the conference was over, the answer was clear; we needed a MANRRS chapter at WSU,” said Trejo. “The conference happened early April and during dead week we had our first ‘interest group’ meeting. We quickly started moving forward with establishing a chapter.”
“MANNRS seemed like the perfect opportunity to communicate, encourage, and apply myself regarding future decisions,” Juan Casas, a senior in Agricultural Biotechnology, explained. “Despite being a program that is relatively new as of this Fall of 2018, I continue to believe that as long as my personal involvement and time commitments are consistent, I can apply myself to follow the steps of those before me in order to taken advantage of the resources and experiences regionally offered.”
A few months later, the chapter launched with 15 active members, monthly meetings and trip to a regional conference. The MANRRS Regional Conference took place at Oregon State University in Corvallis and CAHNRS is pleased to report that nine students and Dr. Casavant attended.
At the conference, students were taught a variety of professional skills. Session topics included public speaking, resume building, and graduate school advice with opportunities to network with industry partners in the professional world mixed throughout the two days.
Casas took the opportunity to participate in a graduate school workshop while attending the conference to best prepare himself for his approaching graduation.
“The absolute best takeaways from the workshop,” described Casas, “was with the panelist asking us directly about the current steps that we as a group were doing to benefit our ‘first step’ as potential graduate students and the informative detailing on important due dates to make the ‘first step’ a big one.”
For Karansher Sandhu, a graduate student researching wheat breeding, his involvement with MANRRS-WSU offers him an opportunity to improve his speaking skills, gain audience exposure and obtain career related advice from a variety of professors within CAHNRS. His transformative experience at the Regional Conference left Karan impressed enough to encourage other students to get involved with MANRRS-WSU.
From freshmen to upperclassmen to graduate students, MANRRS-WSU strives to reach every student, regardless of major and identity, and encourage them to pursue their dreams within agriculture, natural resources and related sciences.