Institutes & Research




Project Title: Minority-focused Multi-level Engagement through Research Integrated Team Projects Across Agriculture Disciplines
Funding Agency: U.S. Department of Agriculture Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program
Award #: 2022-77040-37631
Project Period: 08/01/2022 to 07/31/2026
Project Team: 
      Project Director:
                     Dr. Hua Li, Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Texas A&M University-Kingsville
       Co-Project Directors:
                     Dr. Kai Jin, Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
                     Dr. David Ramirez, Professor and Department Chair, Environmental Engineering
                     Dr. Jianhong Ren, Professor, Environmental Engineering
                     Dr. Tushar Sinha, Associate Professor, Environmental Engineering

We are Accepting Student Researcher Application

Project Summary:
          Unprecedented challenges facing agriculture and rural communities, such as increasing food demand with limited natural resources, call for science-based data driven decision making tools. They also require a future workforce in agriculture related careers to have a broad understanding of the dynamic relationships between the natural, social and engineering system sciences and to transcend the traditional boundaries of these elements. Hence, the proposed MERIT project’s goal is to create and implement an enhanced experiential learning model with minority-focused multi-level research integrated team projects across various agriculture disciplines. The MERIT project will integrate the intellectual and physical resources of two academic departments at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, a Hispanic Serving Institution, to train high school students, undergraduate and graduate students through a cohort setting. The project’s objectives are to: 1) Create research-based experiential learning opportunities across agriculture disciplines to students at different levels, especially URM students; 2) Increase the number of URM students participating in postsecondary education in agriculture disciplines; 3) Integrate leadership skills, professional development, and career planning training into team projects to train students with exceptional skills for agricultural workforce. The project targets three key food and agricultural sciences areas: 1) Artificial Intelligence and Big DATA related to Agriculture, 2) Soil and Water Conservation and Improvement, and 3) Distributing of Food and Agricultural Products. The proposed MERIT project builds on a vision of grooming budding researchers from URM students to embrace the challenge of sustainable agriculture and building future leaders who proactively contribute to the nation’s agricultural goals.

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