This is a grant from the US Dept of Agriculture’s Hispanic Serving Institution program, awarded to Drs. Matt Johnson (Dept Wildlife) and Rafael Cuevas-Uribe (Dept Fisheries Biology).   The grant will run from fall 2019 to summer 2023 ($249,000).

The purpose of this grant is to enable HSU to better serve Latinx students in natural resource sciences, and help students obtain extra-curricular experiential learning opportunities to advance their careers.  In particular, this work aims to engage natural resource students at the nexus of agriculture and natural resource conservation.

The grant builds from momentum and accomplishments of the HSI STEM and HHMI grants to HSU.  Specifically, those grants have helped improve academic achievement for first-year students, and helped equity close gaps for Hispanic students.  This grants aims to magnify these advances by offering support for students after their first year, and scaffold opportunities for student to build experience and prepare for their careers.

“Échale ganas” is a Mexican expression literally meaning “throw some life into it.”  A rough colloquial translation into English is “go for it” or “give it your all.” We chose this expression as a tag-line for our grant because our hope is that this grant enables and empowers Latinx students to seize opportunities to propel their learning and careers in natural resources.


The grant has four main components:

1 STEM Promotores:  Support two Latinx graduate students in Wildlife and Fisheries who will also serve as mentors for Latinx undergraduates majoring in natural resource sciences. These graduate students’ thesis research projects will focus on wildlife/fish and agriculture.

2 Revelar sesiones: The STEM Promotores, in collaboration with other offices on campus, will offer periodic informational sessions focusing on empowering underrepresented students to seek, find, and secure positions, paid positions with land use and agricultural agencies, etc.

3 Portón internships: The grant will offer six research internships per year for Latinx undergraduates to participate in work with agency/industry partners in natural resources and agriculture. These partners include a federal agency (the Natural Resource Conservation Service), private industry (local oyster aquaculture companies Hog Island Oyster Co. and Pacific Seafood), and a local non-profit organization (the Northcoast Regional Land Trust). Each internship will provide a stipend of $1000 and the opportunity for course credit.

4 A new course on the nexus of wildlife and fisheries conservation and agriculture that will satisfy a general education requirements and content will include historical impacts of agriculture on wildlife and fisheries; opportunities to integrate wildlife and fish conservation with agriculture, including aquaculture and aquaponics; and the integration of food production, social justice, and biodiversity conservation.

Ichthyology class (FISH 310) at Trinidad
Ichthyology class (FISH 310) at Trinidad
Grad Student Xeronimo Castaneda