Pilot program chooses FAMU student

CAFS Student Papa Gueye at the inaugural Scholars for Conservation Leadership program Photo courtesy Papa Gueye

The College of Agriculture and Food Sciences sent a student, Papa Gueye, to the inaugural Scholars for Conservation Leadership program this past weekend in Raleigh, N.C. 

This 2019 pilot program brought together 10 college undergraduate students from all over for a one-day professional development conference as well as the National Land Conservation Conference that was being held from Oct. 17-19.

The Scholars for Conservation Leadership program is a  partnership between the Land Trust Alliance and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. The program is designed to open doors for 10 underrepresented minority students in the land conservation career field. 

Gueye, a graduating senior, who is majoring in agronomy, took part in the Scholars for Conservation Leadership program. 

“I feel very honored and privileged to be the only student at FAMU selected for this program as there are so many other students in my major with great academic capabilities who would also deserve to attend this conference,” said Gueye.

Professor and director of the Center for Viticulture and Small Fruit Research, Violeta Tsolova, was proud to see that one of her students had been chosen. “Mr. Gueye’s selection for the first cohort of the program is the national recognition for the exceptional quality of our students and the agriculture education and professional training offered here at Florida A&M University,” Tsolova said.

Tsolova and Robert Taylor, who serves as dean of CAFS, provided guidance during Gueye’s  application process. They also served as points of contact for his reference submissions. 

This experience allowed Gueye and the nine other students the opportunity to speak directly with the Forest Service executives and panelists that work in the conservation industry. 

Inaugural Scholars for Conservation Leadership program
Photo courtesy Papa Gueye

“They provided us with insights on the next steps going forward in our careers,” Gueye said.

When asked what he gained from his experience in Raleigh, Gueye said, “The most important skill that I’ve acquired from the conference would be networking. I was very shy at first, but the amazing people at the conference made me feel comfortable.”

Gueye was able to experience the benefits of this program because of the small group admitted. He will be able to use the skills that he developed during the conference to help him communicate more effectively in a professional setting. He is expected to graduate in December.

CAFS is working to prepare more of its students for opportunities like the one Gueye was able to experience. “The Center  for Viticulture & Small Fruit Research will  continue to provide experiential learning and training for graduate, undergraduate students and  high school apprentices in the STEM disciplines and enable diverse career choices for our graduates,” Tsolova said.