Students Explore Agroscience Careers

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - One local high school is hoping to expand student’s thoughts on STEM based career fields. It’s hands-on learning, to help students explore careers related to agriculture and food science. In this week’s edition of Schools Rule, tells us what makes these sciences so unique.

Michigan State University is bringing the study of agroscience and microbiology to students they say may not otherwise be able to explore the career path-and they’re doing it, one fruit at a time.

Juniors and seniors at Sexton High School in Lansing are exploring the importance of DNA research and agroscience through a presentation with Michigan State University to extract DNA from a strawberry.

“Everyone thinks it’s just going out in the field and growing crops,” said Maureen McDiarmid, a Science Teacher at Sexton High School. “There’s a lot more to it than that.”

“Seeing it come out of the test tube, it was like, ‘Whoa! DNA! You can see it!”’ exclaimed Zachary Cooley, a junior at Sexton High School who participated in extracting DNA from strawberries. Once extracted, students could study the DNA chain from the strawberry.

Once extracted, students can then see how agroscientists and microbiologists can change or alter plant DNA to produce larger and more crops.

“You can be a plant breeder, you know, in the years coming up we’re having a growing population and we’re going to have a hard time feeding the population,” said Labrawn Wade. Wade is a senior at Michigan State University studying Microbiology. HE was on hand to assist with the DNA experiment at Sexton High School.

Wade is a former Sexton student, who says, he’s glad to be able to give students a first-hand look at agricultural sciences, an experience he wishes he’d had during his high school years.

“In the agriculture field, there’s a lack of diversity, so that’s one of the reasons we’re here as well,” said Wade. “To increase diversity within that ag field.”

“I am just so happy that they could really connect and see themselves in five years from now that they could be doing any type of career or college readiness program,” said McDiarmid.

After Michigan State’s presentation, some students are already considering enrolling in programs to study food, agriculture and microbiology.

“What we did today and doing what we did today just kind of interested me in agriculture, because, like what types of mutations can they get?” said Anastasia Anemeith, a Junior at Sexton High School.

“I’d like to see what else there is that agroscience has to offer,” added Cooley.

There’s more information including upcoming summer sessions and presentations with the Michigan State University Agroscience department, here.

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