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Hispanic Serving Institutions National Program

The Hispanic-Serving Institutions National Program is committed to supporting a 21st century agricultural industry. In partnership with Hispanic-serving institutions and other public and private entities, the program works to provide increased professional development, workforce development, and exposure opportunities for faculty, staff, and students.

Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) are public colleges and universities that have enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent students that are at least 25 percent Hispanic students. Currently, more than 500 HSIs nationally, serving more than 2 million students.

HSI (E. Kika De La Garza) Fellowship Program

The USDA HSI (E. Kika De La Garza) Fellowship Program strengthens educational partnerships with faculty and staff from HSIs to collaborate with USDA to gain insight and understanding of the federal government. Through the fellowship, participants meet directly with USDA agencies to learn about opportunities that are available for their respective institutions and their students. Applicants must be faculty or staff at a Hispanic-Serving Institution or Hispanic-Serving School District to qualify.

  • Education Fellowship and High School Education Fellowships are for faculty and staff at HSIs. High School Fellowships are for secondary education superintendents, principals, agricultural and/or district level teachers working for a Hispanic-Serving school district. Fellows participate in a Washington, DC based program.
  • Science Fellowships are for science faculty at HSIs. Science fellows collaborate with leading scientists from USDA. Participants attend a mandatory program in Washington, DC, in addition to collaborating with a USDA Research Center within the country.

Learn more about the 2023 E. Kika De La Garza Fellows!

Important Dates

  • Application Deadline: March 4, 2024 (all materials must be received by 11:59pm PST on this date)

  • Fellowships are awarded: May 2024

  • Travel to Washington, DC: July 7, 2024

Program Dates

  • Education and High School Fellowships: July 8 – July 12, 2024

  • Science Fellowship: July 8 – July 19, 2024

2024 Application

Fellowship Informational Webinar, January 31, 2024

USDA-HACU Leadership Group

The USDA, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Leadership Group serves as an advisory body that provides guidance and direction to USDA on matters of mutual benefit relating to USDA-HACU partnership initiatives.

The purpose of this partnership is to provide a cooperative framework for the parties to develop and maintain a USDA Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Hispanic-Serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities (HSACUs) agenda that will help Hispanic Americans achieve education excellence and to contribute to the fulfillment of the USDA mission. This collaborative agenda is focused on promoting agriculture, food and environmental sciences, and other agriculture-related careers for students attending HSIs and HSACUs.

Membership consists of an equal number of members from USDA and HACU-member institutions and has the responsibility to make recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture and the President of HACU. The Secretary of Agriculture appoints a co-chairperson of the USDA-HACU Leadership Group and USDA members. The President of HACU nominates a co-chairperson of the USDA-HACU Leadership Group and HACU members for secretarial approval.

USDA - Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) National Internship Program

In partnership with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), USDA provides high quality internship experiences for students from Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and other colleges and universities. The Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement works across USDA agencies and staff offices to coordinate placements around the United States. Through this strategic partnership, USDA has placed over 3000 interns since 1994.

Through targeted recruitment and professional development, the program:

  • Addresses USDA’s workforce planning needs by aligning education and training to meet future position requirements;
  • Promotes the participation and study of agriculture, food, natural resources, science, engineering, health, and other related disciplines; and,
  • Exposes students to careers in the Federal Sector and introduces students to the wide-ranging career opportunities

Internship dates

  • Spring Session: January - April
  • Summer Session: May - August
  • Fall Session: Early September - Late December

Apply online at the HACU National Internship Program website.

Cooperative Agreements

Learn how USDA agencies support HSI students, staff and faculty through cooperative agreements by viewing this recorded Symposium on Federal Programs and Resources for Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

Success Stories

From the Classroom to Washington: 2022 E. Kika De La Garza Fellowship Program

Students Intrigued Enough to 'Worm' Their Way into Ag Science

HACU Empowers the Next Generation

Additional Resources

NIFA Hispanic-Serving Agricultural Colleges and Universities (HSACU)

White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics


Julio C. Puentes
Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program Manager

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