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USDA Selects 2019 Class of E. Kika De La Garza Fellows

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2019 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the selection of 18 faculty and staff from Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) across the nation as 2019 E. Kika De La Garza Fellows. This summer fellowship program offers first-hand experiences in policymaking and research at USDA and other federal agencies.

“We are delighted to welcome the 2019 class of the E. Kika De La Garza Fellowship Program,” said Mike Beatty, Acting Director for the Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement. “These fellows represent an opportunity for USDA to empower and engage the next generation of agricultural professionals.”

The fellowships, awarded yearly since 1998, recognize highly accomplished staff and faculty at Hispanic-Serving Institutions. Fellows are selected based on the compatibility of their interests with USDA mission areas, as well as the value their experiences will add to their institutions' educational capacities.

In June, Education Fellows attend a two-week program in Washington, D.C. They will meet with representatives of USDA and other federal agencies such as the Department of Education, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. Science Fellows collaborate with leading scientists from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

The 2019 E. Kika De La Garza Education Fellows are:

  • Norma Jimenez Hernandez - Maricopa County Community College District, Avondale, Arizona
  • Natalia B. Santos - University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
  • Reetika Dhawan - Arizona Western College, Yuma, Arizona
  • Katherine Vilchez - Grossmont College, El Cajon, California
  • Srinivasa Konduru - California State University, Fresno, California
  • David M. Bowen - California State University, East Bay, Hayward, California
  • Andrés Hernández - University of California, Merced, California
  • Becca Arnold - San Diego Mesa College, San Diego, California
  • George S. Sellu - Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa, California
  • María Calixta Ortiz - Ana G. Mendez University, San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Savannah Rugg - Austin Community College, Austin, Texas
  • Fernando Acevedo - Palo Alto College, San Antonio, Texas
  • Sylvia De Leon - San Antonio College, San Antonio, Texas

The 2019 E. Kika De La Garza High School Education Fellow is:

  • Hernan Colmenero - IDEA Public Schools, Weslaco, Texas

The 2019 E. Kika De La Garza Science Fellows are:

  • Andrew Sensenig - Fresno Pacific University, Fresno, California
  • Austin Avwunudiogba - Stanislaus State University, Turlock, California
  • Stephanie Rogus - New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • Monica O. Mendez - Texas A&M International University, Laredo, Texas

Hispanic-Serving Institutions are accredited and degree-granting institutions of higher education with a full-time Hispanic student enrollment of 25 percent or more. The E. Kika De La Garza Fellowship Program is an important platform for partnership between USDA and Hispanic-Serving Institutions to build awareness of USDA services, resources, and employment opportunities within the Department and the agricultural sector in general.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.