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Center for Education and Training in Agriculture and Related Sciences (CETARS)

CETARS received $800,000 per year  from the United States Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture-Hispanic Serving Institutions (USDA-NIFA-HSI) program  (for a total of $ 3.6 M,  including $ 100K matching funds)  to provide students from agriculture and related disciplines undergraduate and graduate research assistantships, materials, travel funds among other expenses. Funding is used to cover all expenses related to outreach activities and training and hands-on research experiences for over 250 talented K-12 students. This proposal is the result of an interdisciplinary and collaborative effort between the Faculty of Agriculture, Arts and Sciences, Engineering (CREST Program) at UPRM and other four (4) Hispanicserving institutions in which the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (UPRM) is the leading; University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla (UPRA), University of Puerto Rico at Humacao (UPRH), Inter-American University of Puerto Rico at San German (IAUPRSG) and the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) are active participants of this project. Dr. Félix R. Román( project director) and Dr. Oscar Perales, Dr. Juan Lopez-Garriga, Dr. Marco de Jesus , Dr. Martha L. Lopez, and Dr. Marcelo Suarez are Co-PDs allfrom UPRM; Dr. Carlos Ruiz, Dr. Jesus Lee and professor Rafael Estremera (UPRA) , Dr. Angela Gonzales and Dr. Felix Torres (IAUPRSG), Dr. Rolando Tremont (UPRH) and Dr Jorge Gardea-Torresdey( UTEP) are also Co-PDs of the project. All of CETARS education training activities are aimed at providing with innovative, high impact research training and education to students and faculty from underrepresented groups. CETARS will establish and consolidate a pipeline attracting, retaining and graduating talented individuals while supporting their actual placement in Agriculture-related positions.

Audience and Participants: The CETARS is designed to benefit at least 45 B.S., 5 M.S. and 5 Ph.D. studentsand and impact about 2500 individuals through its outreach activities. At Present 56 students are receiving support from CETARS 45 BS, 5 MS and 6 PhDs form all the participaint institutions.

Expected  Products & Outcomes: Strengthen the programs of Food Science, Applied Chemistry and the Departments of Crops and Agro-Environmental Sciences, and the Engineering Science and Materials by creating new interdisciplinary courses in the latest food and agribusiness technologies (including nanotechnology), establish a suitable interagency network to facilitate the placement of program graduated in USDA 20 Mission Critical Occupations (MCO´s) and promote faculty development and competitiveness, provide the necessary interagency guidance to retain, graduate and place at least 80% of program graduates in the USDA 20MCO´s. Finally, CETARS will follow the performance of students and faculty involved by monitoring of their retention, time for graduation and hiring, number of peer-reviewed publications, and received grants. Student’s success will be based on research progress , retention and job placement.