AEC’s Jacob Vazquez named 2022 E. Kika De La Garza Education Fellow
By: Norman Martin
Jacob Vazquez, a distance education student working toward his doctorate in Texas Tech's Department of Agricultural Education & Communications, has been named an E. Kika De La Garza Fellow by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The prestigious program links the USDA and Hispanic-Serving Institutions to help build awareness in Hispanic communities of USDA services, resources and employment opportunities.
“Jacob is an outstanding student who embodies the spirit of engagement and collaboration that is a hallmark of the E. Kika De La Garza Fellowship Program,” said Amy Boren-Alpizar, an agricultural leadership associate professor and chair of Vazquez's doctoral committee. “His passion for agriculture and his practical problem-solving approach will certainly serve him well as he embarks upon the unique opportunities offered by this program.” Vazquez is expected to graduate in May 2023
Since 1998, these annual fellowships have recognized highly accomplished staff and faculty at HSIs, which are accredited and degree-granting institutions of higher education with a full-time Hispanic student enrollment of 25 percent or more. In 2019, Texas Tech achieved full status as a HSI. In the Fall of 2020, Texas Tech had an undergraduate Hispanic student population of 29.7 percent.
Vazquez, who joined AEC's Doctor of Education program in 2020, currently serves as an agriculture business and faculty advisor for the agriculture business program at Butte College in Oroville, California (about 80 miles south of Sacramento). Prior to joining the college, he served as associate vice president of risk management at Fresno Madera Farm Credit where he supported data analysis and credit administration roles. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees in agricultural science/business from California State University-Fresno (Fresno State).
Beginning next month (July) Vazquez will spend a week meeting with a host of leaders from different USDA agencies in the Washington, D.C. area, where he will interact directly on national and regional issues, policy making, and research. Following that weeklong session, he'll spend an additional week collaborating with top scientists from USDA's Agricultural Research Service or the Natural Resources Conservation Service's Soil Survey Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.
“These fellowships provide a unique professional development experience and exposure that benefits young people and helps advance the administration's goal of increasing equity for underserved communities across all of rural America,” said Lisa Ramírez, director of USDA's Office of Partnerships & Public Engagement.
Tech's Department of Agricultural Education & Communications has offered a Doctor of Education since 1999. The program builds on previous undergraduate and graduate courses along with their life experiences (including three years of related work experiences), said AEC Chair Scott Burris.
“It's designed to develop independent and critical thinking,” Burris said. “Emphasis is placed on selecting courses and experiences that lead to a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of agricultural education and/or agricultural communications, a supporting field, and methods of research and statistics.”
CONTACT: Scott Burris, Chair, Department of Agricultural Education & Communications, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-8689 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Editor: Norman Martin
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