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USDA 1890 National Scholar Balances Responsibilities

Posted by Carrie Knight, Public Affairs Specialist, Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement in Equity Initiatives
Dec 20, 2023
Zakiah Goodlow using a drum

Zakiah Goodlow, an Alabama native and sophomore at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (A & M), credits the USDA 1890 National Scholar Program and USDA liaisons with helping her balance her many responsibilities. “[They] encourage me to enjoy the program,” she said. “They check in with me and make sure I’m doing okay.”

Goodlow is currently majoring in business administration with a focus on finance. She is a percussionist in the Alabama A & M’s Marching Maroon and White Band that led the 2023 Macy’s Day Parade in New York City – the first historically Black university band to do so. She balances these diverse responsibilities and still maintains a 4.0 GPA.

“Zakiah Goodlow’s story exemplifies the multifaceted accomplishments of USDA 1890 Scholars, highlighting academic excellence, musical talent, and a commitment to agricultural service,” said Anthony Hudson, USDA liaison at Alabama A & M.

The USDA 1890 National Scholars Program aims to increase the number of students from rural and underserved communities who study food, agriculture, natural resources and related sciences at an 1890 land-grant university. The scholarship covers full tuition, fees, books, and room and board and may also include work experience at USDA. The program is open to high school seniors entering their freshman year of college, as well as college freshmen, sophomores, and juniors.

When Goodlow learned that Alabama A & M – a school she was already interested in – was on the list of participating universities, and that the USDA 1890 Scholars Program supported her choice of degree, she said, “I took the opportunity and ran.” She hasn’t looked back.

As part of her 1890 scholarship, last summer Goodlow interned with the USDA Farm Service Agency office in Huntsville, Alabama. There she assisted staff with updating handbooks, providing general office support, acreage reporting, and looking up local administrative acres (aka LAAs) for farmers. A highlight of the internship was visiting a local farm, Tate Farms in Meridianville, Alabama, which she remembered visiting as a child.

Goodlow values the connections she has made through USDA and its partners and is excited about the opportunities the USDA 1890 National Scholars Program will afford her in years to come.

The 1890 National Scholars Program is currently accepting applications for the 2024 school year. For more information or to apply, visit USDA 1890 National Scholar Program.

Category/Topic: Equity Initiatives