Dr. Shad D. Nelson, Texas A&M University-Kingsville

A Word from the Project Director:

This project invites all South Texas students to STEP UP to USDA Career Success.  The aim of this USDA funded multi-institutional collaborative project is to increase the career readiness of South Texas students for Careers in Agricultural and Natural Resource Related Sciences, specifically targeting student preparation for careers within USDA agencies, such as the NRCS, APHIS, AMS, and ARS.  This project allocated funds specifically to undergraduate students at 3 Associates degree awarding institutions (Del Mar College, Texas State Technical College, and South Texas College); and 2 Baccalaureate and graduate degree awarding institutions (Univ. of Texas-Pan American and Texas A&M University-Kingsville).

This grant is projected to span four years of continual funding support for a minimum of 50 undergraduate students, 5 Masters of Science and 1 Doctoral students each year.  Placement of undergraduates as volunteer summer internships with USDA agency mentors or other agricultural and research scientific professionals will provide students with the tools and skills they will need to be competitive in the workforce.  The specific aim of this project will lead to an increase in the number of under-representative populations in federal jobs within various USDA agencies.  I invite you to explore our site, observe current and past student successes, and invite you to STEP UP and join in the fun!

STEP UP to USDA Career Success

(Science, Technology and Environmental Programs for Undergraduate Preparation to USDA Career Success)

The mission of this USDA funded project is to attract, support and train the current generation of underrepresented post-secondary students for careers related to the food, agricultural, biological, environmental, and natural resource systems and prepare them to enter the USDA workforce.


For The Students

  • The students will be trained and exposed to career opportunities from five regional HSI institutions.  The post-secondary institutions include Del Mar College, South Texas College, Texas State Technical College Harlingen, University of Texas-Pan American and Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
  • The institutions will be working closely with four USDA agencies to provide the students hands-on experience in careers in agriculture, biological and environmental sciences through internships.  The USDA agencies include Natural Resources Conservation Service, Agricultural Marketing Service, Agricultural Research Service, and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
  • The students who participate in the program will be provided financial support for their attainment of college degrees.  The students will be trained in specific fields of study of their choosing to make them better prepared to compete in the job market as they approach graduation.

Through this program students will be provided the tools and resources to "STEP UP to USDA Career Success"

This page was last updated on: July 20, 2016