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Minority student organization picks up STEAM with boost from AFS’s Garcia

Minority student organization picks up STEAM with boost from AFS’s Garcia

When Lyda Garcia came to Texas Tech as an undergraduate, she was overwhelmed by the size of the campus. Now, the South Texas native is back as a visiting assistant professor in Tech’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences, and has started a new organization, ‘Minorities in STEAM,’ to help students who may feel the same way.

“My job is to serve; to guide and mentor students down the path they best fit,” said Garcia, faculty advisor for Minorities in STEAM. “Let’s be real, with our changing demographics, it only makes sense to educate our future. The need for educated, bilingual minority students in the agricultural industry is in demand and is continuously growing.”

Minorities in STEAM is an organization promoting the success of minority students pursuing careers and degrees in science, technology, engineering, agriculture and mathematics. The organization is the first in the country of its kind and Garcia hopes it will one day become nationally recognized.

“Whether you’re from a city or a small town, if you don’t know anyone on campus or the surrounding area, it can make someone feel small,” said Donna Balderas, a senior animal science major from Balmorhea and president of Minorities in STEAM. “I want to help out that student, so they realize the possibilities here at Texas Tech are endless and they’re not alone.”

Minorities in STEAM is open to students majoring in either science, technology, engineering agriculture or mathematics. Separately, the organization has helped Garcia, a native of Hebbronville, to connect students with potential employers. “I’m constantly on the phone with companies seeking minority students who are bilingual and educated,” Garcia said. “With this official organization, it’ll be easier for me to find students to refer for jobs.”

Garcia received her bachelor’s degree in animal science from Texas Tech, and her master’s degree from West Texas A&M University in both animal science and meat science. Her doctorate in meat science is from Texas A&M University. She currently teaches an undergraduate meat science course at Tech.

Reporting by Grace Acuna

CONTACT: Cindy Akers, Associate Dean for Academic and Student Programs, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or cindy.akers@ttu.edu

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