Building capacity in Haitian agronomy undergrads
As the four-year Feed the Future Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab (PMIL) program is coming to a close this July, the MFK agriculture team is taking the time to reflect on its student training program. Undergraduate agronomy students in Haiti must complete an end of studies thesis and defense in order to graduate with their license, which is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in the United States. MFK and PMIL have developed a successful method to fulfill the core program objective of capacity building and training for local agronomists through offering field research internships to Haitian undergraduate students. This is beneficial to the students, who are able to gain valuable experience developing and implementing scientific field trials while they work towards completing their undergraduate degrees. The students are also very helpful to MFK and PMIL through their invaluable contributions to our research efforts. These students are very attentive and detail-oriented, and they perform required tasks with excellence and precision, whether it be planting, sampling, disease evaluations, fertilizer or fungicide applications, or harvesting and data analysis.
To date, MFK has trained 36 Haitian undergraduate student interns from five different universities in Limbé, Cap-Haïtien, Limonade, and Port-au-Prince. Many of these students have already defended their theses and been awarded their degrees, while others are still conducting field research, analyzing data, or finishing writing their theses and preparing for their defenses. Training university students has been a thoroughly fulfilling experience for the entire MFK agriculture team, and we plan to continue taking on student interns as an integral part of upcoming research partnerships and projects.