Baton Rouge, La. – The Southern University College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences hosted 26 high school seniors and incoming college freshman for three weeks during the college’s annual Beginning Agricultural Youth Opportunities Unlimited (BAYOU) Program.
The program provides an opportunity for students to gain first-hand knowledge about career opportunities in Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences, Business or the natural sciences.
The students also participate in educational field trips during the program. One of those field trips was to the De Soto National Forest in Wiggins, MS, where the students were introduced to conservation efforts, wildfire work, and protection of endangered species. Calvin Adams, Felton DeRouen and Drs. Harold Mellieon, Jr., Kamran Abdollahi, and Chris Chappell accompanied the students on the trip.
During the program’s closing ceremony on June 21, every student presented their summer experience from the respective academic areas of Apparel Merchandising and Textiles, Agriculture Economics, Animal Science and Pre-Vet Medicine, Child Development, Human Nutrition and Food, Plant and Soil Sciences and Urban Forestry.
“I didn’t know what to expect from the program, in the beginning, but when I moved into the dorm and met my suitemates, it felt like a home away from home,” said Tayla Williams, a BAYOU participant from New Orleans, LA and an incoming freshman at Southern University. “I really enjoyed visiting the different departments in the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences and I was glad that I was able to clarify exactly what I want to do in the Department of Animal Sciences,” she added.
Tayla was excited to explain the hands-on experience she gained during the program such as how to palpate a cow and figure out where the baby is inside the animal, draw blood from a goat out of its neck, and how to stop huff rot in a goat.
To qualify for the BAYOU program, students had to have a minimum grade point average of 2.5 and complete 11th grade. The students live in the dormitories on the Southern University Baton Rouge campus and are permitted to go home on the weekends.
The 2019 BAYOU coordinators were Allison Johnson, the United States Department of Agriculture’s 1890 Program Liaison; Harold Mellieon, Jr., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Agricultural Science and Program Leader of Animal Science, and Tiffany Wilkerson-Franklin, Ph.D., Associate Youth Specialist at the SU Ag Center.
Sponsors for this year’s program included the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Forest Service (FS) the Louisiana Chapter of Professional Black NRCS Employees, LA STEAM, and Southern University’s TrueBlue.
For additional information about the BAYOU Program, visit https://bit.ly/2RmLdQo.
Photos from the program's closing ceremony are available here.