Several students in the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment, or CFWE, at Auburn University attended the Annual Training Conference and Career Expo from the National Society of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences, or MANRRS, this spring in Jacksonville, Florida.
MANRRS is a nonprofit that seeks to change the face of agriculture, natural resources and related sciences. With over 1,100 attendees from academia, industry and government, MANRRS is the largest conference for minorities in the industry.
“Many of the students gave up spring break and other opportunities to come see what I have been talking about for the last couple of months and I am so thankful that they did,” said Michelle Cole, Auburn University MANRRS advisor. “MANRRS 36 served the students with motivation, education, a career fair and plenty of sessions and workshops.”
During the conference, students were given the opportunity to connect with industry leaders and network for potential career opportunities. Many of the members interviewed with prospective employers, presented their research and participated in contests.
To qualify to attend the conference, members must have participated in contests, fundraising events and community service.
The CFWE students in attendance were:
- Amanda Alva, 2022 graduate, master’s degree in natural resource management
- Sabine Bailey, 2022 graduate, master’s degree in natural resource management
- Devin Guice, 2020 graduate in forestry; currently pursuing a degree in sustainable biomaterials and packaging to graduate in Dec. 2024
- Orum Snow, senior in forestry
“This was the first conference I have attended where there were collaborations with multiple employers that were not only looking to hire but there to teach as well,” said Orum Snow. “I came to Auburn as a hopeful student to find a community that would help nurture my ideas and inspire me to become successful. With MANRRS I have accomplished just that.”
“I joined the organization in tenth grade, and it changed my life for the better,” said Devin Guice. “This past conference was possibly the most monumental moment in my life, as I found an internship for the US forest service.”
Conference winners from CFWE:
Sabine Bailey, 2nd place, Graduate Oral Division 2 (Education, Social Sciences and Business) & AGCO Foundation Gold Scholar
Amanda Alva, Dairy Farmers of America Gold Scholars
Auburn University Conference winners:
Veronica Alston, Region 3 Graduate VP
Jonathon Wright, National theme contest winner, American Farmland Trust Junior MANRRS Gold Scholars
Hannah Padgett, 1st place, Jr. MANRRS national essay contest
Amari Parker, 2nd place, Public speaking contest
Micah Cole, American Farmland Trust Junior MANRRS Gold Scholars
Ekene Aguegboh, Cargill Thrive Scholars
Aku adu Gyamfi, Cargill Thrive Scholars
Derrick Adu, MANRRS AGCO Foundation Gold Scholar
Eugene Adeji, Dairy Farmers of America Gold Scholar
Makeda Nurradin, Dairy Farmers of America Gold Scholar
Michelle Cole Auburn University Advisor/ Junior MANRRS Committee Chair- appointed
“MANRRS offered many scholarships to offset the costs of attending the conference, and I was honored to receive the MANRRS Gold Scholarship sponsored by AGCO,” said Sabine Bailey. “I presented my research on policy narratives over controversial port projects next to coral reefs as a poster and oral presentation in two competitions. It was an excellent opportunity to learn from others as well as practice my presentation skills and I was deeply honored to receive 2nd place for my oral presentation.”
“This national conference was one of the most inspiring, heartening and fun professional experiences I was able to have in my entire academic career,” said Amanda Alva.
Many high school members of MANRRS also attended the conference with Auburn’s chapter. Wendell Padgett Jr. was selected in 2021 to have his theme, ‘Broadening Horizons and Changing the Narrative’ showcased for the 2022 conference.
“It was an awesome feeling to see my theme everywhere at the conference,” said Padgett Jr. “I also enjoyed the career fair and helping Mrs. Cole prepare for the events.”
Jonathon Wright won the 2022 national theme contest and will have his theme, “Collaborate, Cultivate, Motivate” featured on all correspondence, websites and brochures for the next 365 days.
A high school member, Hannah Padgett won the Jr. MANRRS essay contest for the second year in a row.
“My experience at the conference was thrilling,” said Padgett. “It was so exciting to stand on the stage and represent my chapter.”
“The MANRRS family is growing, and our pipeline of students are getting stronger,” said Cole. “We are so thankful to the national MANRRS office cohort for everything they do for us on the local level but mostly thankful to our sponsors.” Without their support, we could not have gone to the conference.”
(Written by Gracen Carter)