USDA funds available for seven ag grad students

Stephanie Veldman

Some of the graduate students pursuing degrees in food and agricultural sciences are in luck — Iowa State’s College of Agriculture has received $483,000 in USDA funds to recruit seven graduate students for next semester.

The USDA Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate Fellowship Grants Programs was started 15 years ago to increase scientific and professional expertise in food and agricultural sciences.

The funds will provide three-year fellowships for seven students. Three of the students will be studying animal biotechnology, two will study plant biotechnology and two will study food science and human nutrition.

“These are competitive grant programs, and [Iowa State] will be competing with other top universities in the United States for these awards,” said Gerald Klonglan, associate dean of national programs for the College of Agriculture.

This money is part of a program that is awarding $6.3 million to 21 universities and 91 graduate students nationwide. Schools involved in the fellowship program are mostly land-grant universities and include Texas A&M, Michigan State and University of California, Davis.

“The funding is important to us because it allows us to compete for top-quality graduate students and offer them a great financial package,” Klonglan said.

The award money will be split among the departments, and they are responsible for choosing the students who will receive the awards.

Chris Tuggle, associate professor of animal science, is a co-chairman for the search committee for the animal biotechnology fellowships. He said the search is well underway for potential candidates.

“We have started advertising by sending out flyers to several hundred Midwest universities,” Tuggle said. “We also had individual faculty members send out letters to their colleagues.”

He said officials will start interviewing in February and March. The goal is to choose all three graduate students by April.