Biology Instructor Kristin Digiulio works with U of M Extension and Dakota County 4-H to promote careers in agriculture
In mid-April, 2016, the Ag Roadshow brought two amiable goats, Ethel and Lucy, plus plenty of information about careers in agriculture, environmental science and food science to 6th grade classrooms at Inver Grove Heights Middle School in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. Sponsored by CHS and a partnership between University of Minnesota Extension, Dakota County 4-H and the Biology department at Inver Hills Community College, the Ag Roadshow is a hands-on, interactive experience that explores the myriad STEM career opportunities in modern agriculture, one of the most critical sectors in the global economy.
“Our goal is to engage students who might not traditionally think of agriculture as a career,” said Kristin Digiulio, biology faculty and agricultural outreach coordinator at Inver Hills. “The breadth of opportunities available in ag are amazing. More than 53,000 new jobs are created each year. What’s more, we have a major shortage of qualified candidates. Our Ag Roadshow is a fun, exciting way to deliver that news to young people. Best of all, we bring goats.”
Kristin added that students graduating with a B.S. in food, agriculture or natural resources in 2016 are projected to have an average starting salary of $51,000 a year. In 2015, 94 percent of Minnesota college graduates in those majors secured full-time jobs within six months of graduating.
To learn more about the Ag Roadshow, CLICK THE IMAGE below:
Opportunities in agriculture
What do all these occupations have in common?
- Land-use planner
- Environmental compliance officer
- Food scientist
- Biological engineer
- Restoration forester
- Climate change analyst
- Ecotourism specialist
- Wildlife conservationist
- Water treatment engineer
- Commodities trader
People filling these roles are all working in the field of agriculture.
To learn more about agricultural opportunities for middle schoolers and beyond, CLICK THE IMAGE below:
“My students are learning about different career paths that relate to STEM—and that’s our focus. Many of my students have never been this close to farm animals. They are so excited to meet the goats.” — Amanda Cook, 6th Grade Teacher, Physical and Engineering Science, IGH Middle School
Less than 1 percent of the U.S. population works directly in farming, but more than 20 percent of U.S. jobs are in the field of agriculture. Most of these jobs require a college degree. More people than ever before are working in ag-based occupations—and the demand is only growing. Even though the number of students enrolled in college ag programs is at an all-time high, we still don’t have enough qualified graduates to meet the increasing demand.
“When you hear the word ‘agriculture,’ you should be including everything from food science and nutrition to forestry and renewable fuels,” Kristin Digiulio said. “Ag is infinitely more than cows and plows. Most universities have renamed their various programs. UWRF has Food, Agriculture & Environmental Sciences. The U of M has Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. In reality, the renaming is redundant. Anything to do with food, natural resources, conservation and renewable fuel is all ag.”
Kristin added that Inver Hills will be hosting the Summer Academy for Environmental, Food & Agricultural Sciences Monday–Friday, July 18–22, 2016, on the college’s main campus in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. The Summer Academy is part of the Agricultural Sciences Pipeline Program, which represents a partnership between Inver Hills and Dakota County 4H and is sponsored by CHS.
To learn more about the Summer Academy for Environmental, Food & Agricultural Sciences and the Agricultural Sciences Pipeline Program, click the image below:
“You don’t have to live on a farm to belong to 4-H. Our activities are for urban families, too. You can lease livestock such as sheep or cows and come out to a farm to take care of them. We also have activities like archery, crafts and photography.” Bill Gillet, Volunteer Associate Service Leader, Dakota County 4-H
For more photos from the Ag Roadshow at IGH Middle School, visit Inver Hills on Flickr.
To learn more about the Ag Roadshow or earning an Associate of Science (A.S.) in Biology or Associate of Arts (A.A.) with Emphasis in Biology at Inver Hills, contact:
Agricultural Sciences Outreach Coordinator