On Tuesday, April 11, 2017, the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences hosted a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) meeting with students in the Ray Johnson Assembly Room located in the Jesse A. Morris, Sr./W.C. Boykins Agricultural Science Building. Coordinated by Michael Trusclair, 1980 USDA Program liaison, Alcorn State University (ASU), the event sought to expose students to the many careers in the USDA, as well as encourage them to explore federal career options.
Open to Alcorn State University’s student body, those in attendance heard from Michael Alston, Associate Administrator and Acting Deputy Undersecretary, USDA Risk Management Agency and Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (FFAS).
Alcorn alumnus Roddric L. Bell, Mississippi State Director, USDA Risk Management Agency, gave opening remarks and introduced Alston. Visiting Alcorn for the third time, Alston gave students insight on his 32 year career as an African American within the USDA. He spoke on the importance of managing social media and preparing for interviews and careers with the USDA. He also encouraged students to apply for federal jobs. From his presentation, students understood the importance of what happens today has an impact on the rest of their lives in addition to the challenges that lie ahead.
Alston also informed students of behavior that guarantees success in any career by stating,“Wake up every day, get up, get started, treat people fairly and justly and never give in and never give up. As a minority, work hard to where that agency wants to hire you. Be willing to try something different and step out of your comfort zone.”
Following Alston’s presentation, students were given the opportunity to ask questions, many of which dealt with minority and female success within the USDA.
Joy Knox, a Senior Veterinary Science major, expressed, “From this event I learned that to succeed, I have to work hard and dress presentable. If I want a job, I have to be willing to work for it and step out of my comfort zone.”
Michael Coleman, a Senior Animal Science major, added, “Out of this meeting I learned that hard work and dedication are the main steps of achieving in the USDA as a minority.”
Trusclair gave the closing remarks and presented both guests with gifts of appreciation.