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FAMU Wins MANRRS Chapter of the Year Award

From left to right: Lurleen Walters, chapter advisor; Kashney Welch, chapter vice president; Samuel Donald, interim Dean, College of Agriculture and Food Sciences; Saundra Wheeler, chapter president; and Damon Miller, chapter advisor

April 26, 2012

. – The FAMU Chapter of the National Society of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) earned top recognition as the “Chapter of the Year,” at the 27th Annual Career Fair and Training Conference sponsored by MANRRS in Atlanta, Ga. Achieving this recognition for the first time demonstrated that the student organization from the FAMU College of Agriculture and Food Sciences truly epitomized the conference theme, “Planting the Seeds for Global Success.”

The MANRRS “Chapter of the Year” Award is given to the university that demonstrates the most active involvement and service in the community through oral and written reports. Florida A&M University won in this category over The Ohio State University and Oregon State University.

“This is indeed a great honor for our college and our students," said Michael Thomas, agribusiness program leader.  "It also speaks volumes about the faculty, students and staff that made it all happen."

The FAMU Chapter is also the Outstanding Chapter for MANRRS Region II, which includes the University of Florida, University of Georgia, Fort Valley State University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina State University, South Carolina State University, Clemson University and Voorhees College.

Damon Miller and Lurleen Walters serve as advisors for the chapter. Walters is also an assistant professor of agribusiness in CAFS.

Walters said, “We are very proud of these accomplishments and all that the Chapter is doing to build a stronger network and make a positive impact on the development of our students.”

At the conference, the FAMU Chapter also won other competitions including the following:
  • The FAMU Strike Team won second place in the College Bowl competition. The team members were: Kashney Welch, Aaron Judson, Althea Whitter-Cummings, Ashley Bell and Victoria Smith-Thomas.
  • Saundra Wheeler, chapter president, won third place for her impromptu speech; and Diana Alexis submitted the winning title for the 2013 conference, “MANRRS: Turning Vision into Action.”
Wheeler expressed, “The MANRRS Career Fair and Training Conference attracts more than 900 students, recruiters and other professionals, which provide students with “excellent networking opportunities."  Winning the title of “Chapter of the Year” will help our efforts to increase membership and, hopefully, provide more opportunities for the professional development of students majoring in agriculture and food sciences.”

She explained that those who attended MANRRS were given an all-access pass to leading companies in agriculture and natural resources as well as graduate schools and government agencies.

“Several of the students were hired on the spot,” said Wheeler.

“The energy and drive of our chapter president, Ms. Wheeler, is a great example of student leadership. Her standards of excellence and confidence have made a huge impact in CAFS,” said Neil James, food science program leader. “Under her leadership, membership in the chapter has diversified and graduate membership has increased during the past year.”

MANRRS is a national society that promotes academic and professional advancement by empowering minorities in agriculture, natural resources, and related sciences. For many students, MANRRS provides role models, networking opportunities, internships and full time employment positions.  MANRRS also offers students opportunities to enhance leadership, organizational and public speaking skills, and to experience professional critique of scholarly work in a supportive environment. The organization’s motto is “Changing the Face of Agriculture by Linking Hands Around the World.”

The FAMU MANRRS chapter actively links to students and citizens of the FAMU/Leon County community through service in many ways such as participating in youth leadership camps, feeding ten disadvantaged families for the 2011 Thanksgiving, donating more than $500 to the American Cancer Society, hosting a Financial Literacy seminar and sponsoring professional development workshops.

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