N.C. A&T students co-host hundreds seeking agricultural careers

GREENSBORO, N.C. (April 5, 2018) – A professional development organization for students in agricultural-related sciences holds its national conference this week in Greensboro, and students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University are co-hosts of the event.

More than 1,200 students, faculty and industry leaders from across the country are expected for the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) conference, Thursday through Saturday at the Koury Convention Center.

The annual gathering and career fair is tailored to students in a range of agriculture-related fields including agribusiness, animal sciences, biological engineering, fashion merchandising, environmental systems and food science. The event is co-hosted by the MANRRS chapter of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at N.C. A&T, and by its sister land-grant affiliated chapter at NC State in Raleigh. Other hosts and sponsors include agrochemical and pharmaceutical companies BASF Corp., Bayer and Syngenta.

“The primary benefit for students is that they learn to market themselves, to network, showcase their talents and build their confidence in their discipline,” says Radiah Minor, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Animal Sciences who is the lead coordinator for MANRRS at A&T. 

“The conference also provides internship opportunities, as well as mock interviews where students can prepare for entry into the agricultural workforce.”

With about 50 students scheduled to attend, the A&T chapter is expected to have the largest delegation of students at the conference, including at least one — Brianna Holness — who holds a regional office in MANRRS.

This year’s conference is also taking a creative leap in opening a pop-up shop. The short-term retail space merges the concepts of agribusiness and fashion merchandising and fulfills a mission to engage a broader array of agricultural-based disciplines in the conference. From inventory to sales, price points and operation, the site is being operated by students in A&T’s fashion merchandising and design program, which is an agricultural discipline.

“It is aimed at getting more of the fashion and textile people involved,” Minor says. “There are not a lot that really come to MANRRS and hence not a lot of companies that come to recruit in this discipline. I’m excited that we’re opening this pop-up store and we’re expanding opportunities to other areas.”

Area middle and high school students interested in agricultural careers are also scheduled to attend the conference. They will tour the University Farm at A&T, and also conduct a laboratory experiment.