Urban Youth Perceptions of Agriculture

Sharon Jean-Phillipe, Jennifer Richards, Kimberly Gwinn, Caula Beyl

Abstract


To change public perceptions, particularly from urban populations, of agriculture and natural resources (ANR) fields, the University of Tennessee developed a model of strategic educational recruitment to extend beyond traditional college fair experiences to educate underrepresented candidates. The High School Agricultural Education Initiative (HSAI) provided 10th-grade students with opportunities to: (a) gain knowledge of and appreciation for disciplines in agriculture and natural resources, (b) learn about college admissions standards, (c) network with college students and staff to learn about campus resources, and (d) understand how a college education improves professional opportunities. The HSAI (n = 122) was effective at increasing urban high school student knowledge of postsecondary opportunities in agriculture and natural resources, particularly with regards to ANR career paths. Additionally, students placed high value on the importance of scholarships and they believed that their parents would be supportive of majoring in an ANR discipline. The HSAI program targeted 10th-grade students for a one-time intervention, however, in further reflection and based on the results of this study, establishing long-term partnerships with Title I urban high schools may be more effective at increasing the number of youth who actually apply and enroll in ANR programs in college.


Keywords


agricultural and natural resources education; agricultural careers; college-high school partnerships

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2017.497

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