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Texas A&M receives $500,000 for new 'Science Influencer' program

Debuting fall 2021
John Askew (Facebook)
Posted at 3:11 PM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 16:11:55-04

COLLEGE STATION, TX — Texas A&M University has received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to help combat misinformation about rural America and agriculture science.

The wide-reaching program aims to equip students with the skills for effective communications of science-based information across multimedia platforms, including social media networks and via written and video blogs.

Next fall, 30 Aggies will be selected and paired with a mentor from one of the 11 different schools in the A&M University System.

Of those 30 participants, 50% will be selected from traditionally underrepresented minority communities.

Over a four-year period, each participant will be part of a year-long program to increase their applied knowledge and competencies to communicate effectively about STEM- and FANH-related issues.

The program will reportedly also include the following:

  • Bi-weekly meetings
  • Research, education, and extension experiences regarding REE
  • Activities with primary/collaborating mentors
  • Science communications coursework
  • Professional development workshops covering social media platforms, skills, and analytics
  • leadership skills development activities
  • Immersive learning experiences, including paid internships and opportunities for research conferences or study abroad experiences

The Science Influencers program builds on current USDA projects and communications curricula.

An REE advisory board will also be formed to serve as mentors, role models, and advocates for undergraduates and to help contribute to programming and networking. The board will also support and guide those entering the FANH sciences workforce after graduation.

Participants who successfully complete the program will receive a Certificate of Science Communications.

Recruitment for the Science Influencers program will officially launch in the fall, with the first group of selected students taking a planned communications course.

Program officials say they added a communication curriculum into practice to help science students become better communicators within their area of interest.

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