Taylor Mitchell, a 2022 graduate of the Environmental Studies program at the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, will spend the summer as an inaugural 1890 Universities Foundation intern with the U.S. House Agriculture Committee.
While on Capitol Hill, Mitchell will gain first-hand insight into the policy-making and legislative process as it relates to agriculture, including commodity production and pricing, farm credit and security. agriculture, rural electrification and soil conservation. She will also participate in research and learn from the committee chair, Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.).
For Mitchell, this experience balances the mostly scientific work she did as a student at NC A&T.
“NC A&T is a STEM school, so we have focused more on research and the science behind it. But this committee works with the legislation that allows this work to happen,” she said. “I learn that science and research can be involved in policy.
“Sitting around when reps are in session and discussing the various topics that cross our desk, I can see how important this work is. Recently we had a discussion about how cryptocurrency could affect agriculture. Policies that may affect black farmers when they come to the US Department of Agriculture are all handled by this committee. I’m so excited to be part of it.
Mitchell is the first intern of the Universities of the 1890s Foundation, a new program that aims to connect university students from the 1890 land-grant system with exposure to public policy-making.
“It’s an invaluable way for students to gain an understanding of Congress and its processes,” said Antonio McLaren, Ed.D., vice president for program innovation and implementation at the 1890s Universities Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports education, scholars, and outreach. in 19 1890 land-grant universities.
“It is essential that diverse voices are present in the political arena. These internships could lead to employment opportunities with a range of federal organizations and agencies, such as the United States Department of Agriculture; opportunities to work in Congress staff positions; for agro-industrial enterprises; or in other important functions,” he said.
On campus, Mitchell was a senator for the Student Government Association; President of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Club; and member of the CAES Dean’s Student Cabinet. She studied with Godfey Uzochukwu, Ph.D. in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design, learning about both sustainability and responsibility.
Next fall, she will travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan to pursue a master’s degree in sustainable systems at the University of Michigan, with the ultimate goal of earning her doctorate. His studies have focused on freshwater management, conservation and agricultural minority rights. Eventually, she would like to lead global research on conserving wetlands and securing freshwater for poor communities.
However, continuing to pursue policy development is now part of the plan, Mitchell said.
“A&T has always been about preparing you for all kinds of situations, and I feel really prepared just by knowing agriculture through the CAES program,” she said. “I wouldn’t have been so confident in what I’m doing now if I hadn’t started there.”