Contact: Kathleen Forman
STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State faculty and student members of the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences, or MANRRS, are new appointees to the national organization’s executive board.
Derris Devost-Burnett, associate professor in MSU’s Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences and the university’s MANRRS co-advisor, has been elected national president-elect for the professional organization. MANRRS promotes academic and professional advancement by empowering minorities in the fields of agriculture, natural resources and related sciences.
Burnett, whose experience with MANRRS spans more than 20 years, has held various local and national positions during his involvement as a student member, graduate student vice president, chapter advisor, alumni committee co-chair and national secretary.
“My vision as president is to deliver on the value proposition of MANRRS as being the premier venue for cultivating and producing diverse talent in fields of agriculture, natural resources and related sciences,” Burnett said. “I plan to support our collegiate and pre-collegiate efforts as well as implementing programs such as ‘MANRRS Pro’ which will continue to support the growth of MANRRS alumni and professionals as they navigate the professional workforce. Additionally, I hope to extend our reach beyond our borders with a ‘MANRRS Abroad’ program similar to the MSU Livestock Study Abroad program which will help create more diverse global citizens in this field.”
Student national executive appointees include Kenisha Gordon, an interdisciplinary studies master’s student in animal and dairy sciences and food science and technology from Guyana, elected Region IV graduate student vice president. Dianna Wilson, a food science, nutrition, and health promotion master’s student from Brunswick, Georgia, is as a national MANRRS Ambassador.
The MSU MANRRS chapter has developed a national reputation for leadership and successful competition at the national level. Gordon placed first in the pitch contest while Jacinda Leopard, a food science, nutrition and health promotion master’s student, placed first in the agricultural photo contest.
“I was honored by this award and felt confident going into the competition,” said Gordon. “A lot of preparation went into this. My favorite part of MANRRS is that it’s multifaceted in the sense that it brings not just academia, but the professional workplace and governmental affairs into the equation.”
The conference was rounded out by seven additional MSU MANRRS members being awarded competitive scholarships. These include (by hometown):
CALHOUN CITY—Courtlone Glaspie, senior food science, nutrition and health promotion major, Farm Credit/MANRRS VIP Scholar scholarship.
CHICAGO, Illinois—Mya Dixon, a senior majoring in both animal and dairy science and biological sciences, MANRRS GOLD scholarship sponsored by AGCO.
GEORGETOWN, GUYANA—Kenisha Gordon, interdisciplinary studies graduate student, MANRRS GOLD scholarship sponsored by Dairy Farmers of America.
LAKE CITY, Florida—Avona Randolph, junior animal and dairy science major, MANRRS GOLD scholarship sponsored by Dairy Farmers of America.
LELAND—Mekaela Brisco, senior animal and dairy science major, MANRRS GOLD scholarship sponsored by AGCO.
LAUREL—Lauryn Heidelberg, food science, nutrition and health promotion graduate student, MANRRS GOLD scholarship sponsored by Dairy Farmers of America.
OXFORD—Jacinda Leopard, food science, nutrition and health promotion graduate student, Cargill Thrive scholarship.
MSU MANRRS is online at www.manrrs.org.msstate.edu, Facebook @MSU MANRRS, Twitter @MSUMANRRS and Instagram @msstatemanrrs.
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