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USDA Women in Science Share Advice with the Next Generation

At USDA, we harness the power of agricultural science to transform the world. To create a future that is more sustainable, prosperous and equitable for everyone. This requires a diverse scientific workforce that is driving innovation forward. Women voices and perspectives are a crucial part of this work.

In His Own Words: E. Kika De La Garza Science Fellow Alok Arun

Since 1998, E. Kika De La Garza Fellowships have recognized highly accomplished staff and faculty at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Hispanic-Serving School Districts. Participants meet directly with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies to learn about opportunities are available for their respective institutions and their students. Science Fellows, like Associate Professor of Biotechnology Alok Arun from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico Barranquitas campus, also collaborate with leading USDA scientists and a USDA Research Center. Professor Arun shares his experience with the Fellowship Program.

USDA's Disaster Mapping Team Provides Data in the Most Critical Times

As we observe September as National Preparedness Month, it is important to remember that being prepared is the most important thing you can do to assist in dealing with any disaster or emergency. Unfortunately, no amount of preparation will stop a natural disaster or emergency from occurring, but how you react to them can be just as critical. This is why the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) created a Disaster Mapping Team.

Scientists Explore Gene Editing to Manage Invasive Species

In the U.S., the environmental and economic costs caused by invasive species are estimated to exceed $120 billion per year. Since invasive pests have few or no natural predators, they can quickly spread, and throw off entire ecosystems by pushing out native species and reducing biological diversity. Once introduced, non-native insects can decimate crops and forests. Invasive rodents are also disruptive—particularly on island ecosystems, where they are the leading cause of plant and animal extinctions. Exotic plant pests and diseases threaten U.S. food security, quality of life, and the economy.

I Got My Roots at ARS

Years ago, I spent my days watching pecan roots change the color of solutions from clear to red as they reduced iron for uptake. It may not sound exciting, but that was the topic of my 2010 undergraduate research internship at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Children’s Nutrition Research Center (CNRC) in Houston, TX, under the direction of my mentor, ARS scientist Dr. Michael Grusak.