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USDA Selects 2012 Class of E. Kika De La Garza Fellows

Media Contact: Maria Goldberg (202) 720-6506

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2012 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics Dr. Catherine Woteki today announced the 27 members of the 2012 class of the E. Kika De La Garza Fellowship Program. Woteki also serves as co-chair of the USDA-Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Leadership Group.

The 27 fellows, from Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) from across the nation, were selected based on the compatibility of their interests with USDA mission areas, as well as the value their experiences will add to their institutions' educational capacities.

HSIs are accredited and degree-granting institutions of higher education with a full-time Hispanic student enrollment of 25 percent or more. Through partnerships fostered by the fellowship program, USDA and HSIs are better prepared to address educational challenges faced by the Hispanic community and to promote services and employment opportunities offered by USDA agencies while diversifying the Department's workforce.

The 15th class of the E. Kika De La Garza Fellowship is divided into four categories, each specially tailored to meet the fellows' interests and provide them with an enriching experience. The Education, Executive, and High School Fellows experience first-hand the policymaking process by meeting with USDA personnel and connecting with federal agencies such as the Department of Education, Housing and Urban Development, and the National Science Foundation. The Science Fellows collaborate with leading scientists from USDA's Agricultural Research Service--one of the world's premier scientific organizations--and learn about state-of-the-art agricultural research.

The 2012 E. Kika De La Garza Fellows are:

Education Fellows - 17
David William Baggett, Modesto Junior College, Modesto, CA; J.E. Becerra, California State Polytechnic University – Pomona, Pomona, CA; John Crockett, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA; Consuelo Gonzalez, Bakersfield College, Bakersfield, CA; Ismael Diaz Herrera, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA; Leticia P. Lopez, San Diego Mesa College, San Diego, CA; Louie F. Rodriguez, California State University, San Bernardino, San Bernardino, CA; Jorge Talamantes, California State University, Bakersfield, Bakersfield, CA; Oscar Villarreal, West Hills College Lemoore, Coalinga, CA; Karen Wallace, California State University, Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA; Richard T. Patton, Miami Dade College, Miami, FL; Jose’ L. Garcia, Dominican University, River Forest, IL; Maria E. Luna-Duarte, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, IL; Greta Suttle Clark, Dodge City Community College, Dodge City, KS; Jose Flores, Eastfield College, Dallas, TX; Jonathan J. Macias, The University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX; Gloria A. White, St. Edward’s University, Austin, TX

Science Fellows - 6
Monica Palomo, California State Polytechnic University – Pomona, Pomona, CA; Pablo R. Sacasa, Miami Dade College, North Campus, Miami, FL; Bert Rivera-Marchand, Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Bayamon Campus, Bayamon, PR; David Sotomayor, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus, Mayagüez, PR; Ivan Castro-Arellano, Texas State University – San Marcos, San Marcos, TX; Kirsten W. Corda, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX

Executive Fellows - 2
Alfred B. Konuwa, Woodland Community College, Woodland, CA; Martin Valadez, Columbia Basin College, Pasco, WA

High School Fellows - 2
Rebecca Currey, AAEC (Arizona Agribusiness and Equine Center), Phoenix, AZ; Jozka Vilek Garcia-Huerta, Waseca School District #829, Waseca, MN

For more information on the E. Kika De La Garza Fellowship program, visit: http://www.hsi.usda.gov/HSIs/fellowship.htm

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).