Catherine Simpson, an assistant professor of sustainable and urban horticulture in the Texas Tech Department of Plant and Soil Science, is the project director of a group of researchers who are part of the Mentoring Agriculture Students through Training, Experimental learning and Research Skills program.

The MASTERS program aims to provide financial support, mentoring, training, internships and professional-development opportunities to underrepresented and underserved students, according to a Tech news release. Additionally, it aims to increase the number of skilled employees in the agriculture workforce. 

The United States Department of Agriculture has backed this program with a $279,999 grant, and Tech has partnered with USDA Agricultural Research Services – Arid Land Agricultural Research Center in Arizona, according to the news release. Together, they will provide hands-on training, access to technical and analytical equipment and guidance from senior scientists at the ARS.

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