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USDA 1890 National Scholars Program and USDA Liaisons Prepare Students for Their Future Careers

Posted by Melissa Blair, Public Affairs Specialist, USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement in Equity Initiatives
Dec 15, 2023
Arionne Patterson

Arionne Patterson has come a long way since learning about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 1890 National Scholars Program during a presentation hosted at her high school in Fresno, California. As a result of pursing her agricultural dreams and the USDA 1890 National Scholars Program, Patterson obtained her Agriculture Business degree at Prairie View A&M University and her master’s degree at Purdue University.

Patterson was awarded the 1890 National Scholarship in 2016.

“Receiving the scholarship was a big relief for myself and my family, since college is very expensive and I was an out-of-state student, which is even more expensive,” said Patterson. “To know I was going to end my four-year college degree debt-free was a huge blessing.”

Texas Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) selected Patterson for her internship, and she worked her first summer at the state office in Temple. During Summer 2017, she transferred to California NRCS interning in the Fresno field office. In Summer 2018, Patterson transitioned into the Pathways Program, where she interned as a student trainee management analyst in the California State Office in Davis.

Today, she works for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Davis, California as a management analyst who oversees the coordination of students in the state’s Pathways internship program. She is also the Black Special Emphasis Program Manager for the agency.

“Arionne’s personal experience through the 1890’s program and her exceptional and professional skillset has contributed to growing the NRCS Pathways program to unprecedented levels,” said RaeAnn Dubay, deputy state conservationist for NRCS California. “She is a beacon for diversity and bringing in the next generation of scholars to our government agency.”

Patterson remarked on the positive influence of working with the USDA liaison at Prairie View A&M University. USDA liaisons at minority-serving institutions of higher education help to connect students, faculty and communities with USDA programs and initiatives.

“The USDA liaison plays a vital role in the development of 1890 Scholars professionally and academically to prepare us for the real world,” said Patterson. “I am forever grateful to [USDA Liaison] Horace Hodge, who has been influential in my career development on and off campus. It’s important for all students on campus to communicate with their USDA liaisons to learn more about USDA opportunities.”

Category/Topic: Equity Initiatives