MANRRS: Community and opportunity for underrepresented students in agricultural sciences



MANRRS is an organization for minority students in agriculture natural resources and related sciences that meets biweekly on Wednesdays.

Predominantly white institutions (PWI) can leave students of color having trouble finding community. Organizations within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences tackle this issue by creating spaces for underrepresented students.

Attending a PWI can lead to several instances of feeling as though you do not belong, according to Danielle Douglas, a senior in animal science.

“That can stem from people not being willing to speak or sit next to you during classes or any educational setting, or, even more blatantly, being told that you don’t belong,” Douglas said.

Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Science (MANRRS) is a campus organization focused on increasing diversity and inclusion within the agricultural field.

Douglas first became a part of MANRRS during her freshman year after being introduced to it by her Fostering Opportunity and Collaboration through Unity and Scholarship (FOCUS) mentor who was the secretary of the organization at the time.

“It’s aimed to bring minority students within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences together, but all minority students are welcome,” said Gracelynn Maguire, a senior majoring in animal science and president of MANRRS.

“Before coming to college, I was extremely worried about fitting in and making new friends in a PWI, as I was an out-of-state student,” Maguire said. “MANRRS has been a gateway to leadership, friendship and a community I am truly comfortable in.”

The club meets from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. every other Wednesday in Curtiss 0013. Professors and MANRRS alumni attend these meetings to discuss agricultural topics and minority research, and agricultural corporations discuss their work, internships and jobs.

“Many minority students do not see others that look like them in their desired profession, which may deter them from pursuing it,” Maguire said. “Bringing in career professionals that advocate for more diversity and inclusion within their corporation aids students in their future careers in agriculture.”

Douglas said MANRRS offers professional opportunities for minority students that are not openly available.

“MANRRS has allowed me to participate in several professional development activities for myself and other incoming students that I don’t believe are available anywhere else,” Douglas said.

Douglas said that finding a community has been an amazing experience that has created life-long friends and relationships.

“Finding that community gives you a place where you can relate to others, form a bond about the commonality in your experiences and lift each other in the process,” Douglas said.

MANRRS is currently selling shirts that read “America Needs Scholars of Color.” To get involved with the organization, visit ClubFest on Jan. 25.