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Alabama NRCS Scholars Students Succeed

Conservation Showcase


Hayes, Jones, and Johnson - AL NRCS Scholars

l-r: Zackery Hayes, Janice Keith, and Demetrius Johnson participated in the Alabama USDA-NRCS scholars program.

By Alice Love, Agricultural Outreach Liaison, NRCS, Auburn, AL

In 2008, Alabama Natural Resources Conservation Service (AL-NRCS) implemented a state scholars program through a Cooperative Agreement with Tuskegee University (TU).   This program targets students within the College of Agriculture, Environment, and Nutrition Sciences (CAENS) majoring in natural resources, agriculture, or other closely related science.  

The goal of the program is to recruit students for future employment with AL-NRCS as Soil Conservationists or Soil Scientists.  Prior to graduation, students accepted into the program, based on specified criteria, will receive partial tuition incentive payments, summer internships, and career counseling by an agency Technical Liaison.

TU student Zackery Hayes is the first student to complete his undergraduate academic requirements in December 2011 and received a Career Conditional Appointment with AL-NRCS in February 2012.  Prior to this appointment, Zackery completed several internships with the United States Forest Service in various locations.  He also interned with NRCS during his status as an AL-NRCS scholar.  Zachery’s internship and Career Conditional appointment is within the Soil Sciences discipline.

Jamie Keith and Demetrius Johnson completed their TU undergraduate studies in May 2012 and received Career Conditional appointments within NRCS.

In collaboration with the University, CAENS Department Head and Alice Love, AL-NRCS technical liaison, developed a special problem course that was implemented within the College of Agriculture. The objective of the course is to evaluate academics and on-the-job training in correlation to a student’s projected career path.  The first class was held during Fall Semester 2011.  At the end of the semester, students presented papers demonstrating the positive effects of their academic studies in regard to successful on-the-job performance.

AL-NRCS reviewed applications during the Spring 2012 Semester for future scholars in CAENS at TU.  Majors relating to Soil Conservationists and Soil Scientists were the primary job series being considered.  TU Scholars accepted are completing a 2012 Internship with NRCS as a benefit of the Cooperative Agreement Program.

Alabama A&M University located in Normal, Alabama, has a similar Cooperative Agreement with USDA-Major Land Resource Area for Region 15 (MO-15), Soils Office located in Auburn, Alabama. 

The continuation of the NRCS Scholars Program at the Tuskegee University and Alabama A&M 1890 Land Grant Universities is contingent upon AL-NRCS Fiscal Year Allocations. 

Dr. William Puckett, Alabama NRCS State Conservationist, says, “We are excited to support this scholarship program.  It allows students to gain real time experience with the agency and allows the agency to find motivated people to help carry out our conservation mission.”

For more information about the Alabama NRCS Scholarship Program, contact Alice Love, Natural Resources Specialist, NRCS, Auburn, AL (334-887-4550).

TU students in the AL-NRCS Scholars Program

Shanice Jones, Soil Conservationist

Shanice Jones-Soil Conservationist

Kaluna Carter - Soil Scientist

Kaluna Carter - Soil Scientist

Kendall Rogers - Soil Conservationist

Kendall Rogers - Soil Conservationist