STILLWATER, Okla. – The Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center hosted the Pawnee Nation College Scholars Conference July 28 on the Oklahoma State University campus.
Patricia Rayas-Duarte, FAPC cereal chemist, introduced available resources and valuable opportunities to Pawnee Nation College students during the scholars’ conference.
Pawnee Nation College faculty collaborates with OSU Extension and outreach programs to develop STEM-related fields, such as the agricultural industry. Rayas-Duarte serves as the project director of the Pawnee Agricultural Nutrition Initiative Outreach Program.
“Each student has a tremendous potential to start or continue their education,” Rayas-Duarte said. “Our team wanted to share engaging bits of food science to the scholars to keep their motivation in the STEM fields for their career options.”
The group of scholars represented students and volunteers participating in the community garden and training programs during the summer.
“We wanted to show how fun and exciting food science can be,” she said. “We showed several areas of problem solving and recent research topics that would pique their curiosity by sharing both personal experiences and projects in science and technology which have made contribution to solving challenges in agriculture and food science.”
Rayas-Duarte said the opportunities to make an impact in students’ inspiration are endless.
“I have been inspired by many people that don’t even know the impact they had in my life and career choices,” she said. “I enjoy seeing the spark in their eyes when they get it or when they asked questions. Education is an opportunity to use their human potential and creativity to make contributions to solve mysteries in science, challenges in industry and create something new to make life easier.”
Tim Bowser, FAPC food process engineer and Extension project co-director, demonstrated the benefits of at-home innovation during the conference.
“It’s important to stick with what the tribe already knows by commercializing ancient recipes that use locally-grown native crops,” Bowser said. “The tribe can focus on products that are inexpensive to make and shelf-stable, such as dried grains and meats.”
The conference included demonstrations by Che Deer and Brian Arnall on STEM fields in horticulture and plant sciences.
For more information about the Pawnee Agricultural Nutrition Initiative Outreach Program, visit the FAPC website or call 405-744-6071.
FAPC, a part of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, helps to discover, develop and deliver technical and business information that will stimulate and support the growth of value-added food and agricultural products and processing in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma State University
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