WASHINGTON, June 15, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today named 20 faculty and staff from Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Hispanic-Serving School Districts around the nation as new E. Kika De La Garza Fellows.

Beginning on July 11, 2022, E. Kika De La Garza Education, High School, and Science Fellows will spend one week meeting with a host of leaders from different USDA agencies in the Washington, D.C. area, where they can interact directly on national and regional issues, policy making, and research. Following that weeklong session, E. Kika De La Garza Science Fellows will spend an additional week collaborating with top scientists from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) or the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Soil Survey Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“These fellowships provide a unique professional development experience and exposure that benefits young people and helps advance the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of increasing equity for underserved communities across all of rural America,” said Dr. Lisa R. Ramírez, director of USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement. “After the E. Kika De La Garza fellows meet with USDA leaders, they gain insights, perspectives, knowledge and collaboration opportunities to share with students and colleagues in their home institutions and communities.”

The E. Kika De La Garza Fellowship Program links USDA and Hispanic-Serving Institutions to help build awareness in Hispanic communities of USDA services, resources, and employment opportunities. Since 1998, these annual fellowships have recognized highly accomplished staff and faculty at HSIs, which are accredited and degree-granting institutions of higher education with a full-time Hispanic student enrollment of 25 percent or more. The program also includes faculty and staff from Hispanic-Serving School Districts, which are K-12 school districts with Hispanic student enrollment of 25 percent or more.

The 2022 E. Kika De La Garza Education Fellows are:

·     Yeon-Su Kim – Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Ariz.

·     Breanna Watkins – University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.

·     Marisol Ruiz – Cal Poly Humboldt, Arcata, Calif.

·     Elizabeth G. Mosqueda – Madera Community College, Madera, Calif.

·     Alice Baldridge – St. Mary’s College of CA, Moraga, Calif.

·     Jacob Vazquez – Butte College, Oroville, Calif.

·     Nadia Campbell – San Diego State University, San Diego, Calif.

·     Beatriz Camargo – Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa, Calif.

·     Pamela Sedillo – University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, N.M.

·     Ivelisse Irizarry Caraballo – Universidad del Sagrado Corazón, San Juan, Puerto Rico

·     David De Sousa – Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

·     Rafael E. Martinez – Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas

·     Sandya R. Kesoju – Columbia Basin College, Pasco, Wash.

The 2022 E. Kika De La Garza High School Education Fellows are:

·     Juanita García Avilés – Puerto Rican Cultural Center, Chicago, Ill.

·     Silvia Saldivar – Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD / Berta Palacios Elem., Pharr, Texas

The 2022 E. Kika De La Garza Science Fellows are:

·     Alok Arun – Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Barranquitas Campus, Barranquitas, Puerto Rico

·     Guillermo Marcillo – West Texas A&M University, Canyon, Texas

·     Elinor Lichtenberg – University of North Texas, Denton, Texas

·     Engil Pereira – University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, Texas

·     Claire M. Carpenter – Yakima Valley College, Yakima, Wash.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production and fairer markets for all producers. USDA is dedicated to ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers. In order to reach these goals, USDA encourages the use of climate smart food and forestry practices. USDA is making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America and is committed to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.