M.E.A. Motivates Educates Achieves
The 1890 Center of Excellence to Motivate and Educate for Achievement is dedicated to encouraging and supporting young people from underrepresented minority groups to pursue studies and careers in the food, agriculture, natural resources and human (FANH) sciences and the broader STEM fields.
Based at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, the MEA Center of Excellence serves all 19 of the 1890 land-grant universities and is led by representatives from seven 1890 institutions: Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Lincoln University, N.C. A&T, Tuskegee University, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Fort Valley State University and Virginia State University.
There are almost 60,000 food and agriculture-related jobs available annually, but only 35,400 U.S. students who graduate each year with food and agriculture-related degrees, according to a 2015 employment report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Purdue University. The center’s goal is to help close this gap and collectively increase the diversity of the U.S. agricultural workforce pipeline spanning careers in food, agriculture, natural resources and human (FANH) sciences.
The center provides a virtual space to support collaborative programs among the partner universities. This space enables the 1890 land-grant universities to recruit, retain, mentor and graduate underrepresented students; provide workforce development experiences for students to enhance the pipeline from high school to undergraduate programs, graduate programs and careers; increase students’ engagement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics; and provide students from grade school through college with experiential learning opportunities related to soft skills, research skills, international engagement, conference attendance, leadership training and technology skill development.
In addition to its other work, the center strengthens partnerships among the 1890 land-grant universities, the USDA, and other public and private organizations. An external advisory board, consisting of both industry leaders and academic leaders from within and outside the 1890 system, will help the center’s leadership team ensure that programs are relevant and impactful.
The MEA Center is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture/ National Institute of Food and Agriculture; Award #: 2020-38427-31516