Last updated: September 03. 2014 9:51PM - 269 Views

A cohort of 37 high schoolers from across the Southeast took part in the 2014 Commissioner's School of Agriculture at Clemson University.
A cohort of 37 high schoolers from across the Southeast took part in the 2014 Commissioner's School of Agriculture at Clemson University.
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The Commissioner’s School for Agriculture was started in 2004 by Clemson University Director of Extension Tom Dobbins and has served more than 375 students from 45 South Carolina counties and 12 states. Seventy percent of its alumni have gone on to study in related areas at Clemson and most of those hold careers in fields relating to agriculture, natural resources and the life sciences.

CLEMSON — While high school students around the nation were dreading returning to the classroom, 37 of their high-achieving peers got a jump start on the future by participating in the South Carolina Commissioner’s School of Agriculture at Clemson University.

Local participants included Luke Fuhrer of Liberty, Kaylynn Hippler and Garrison Smith of Anderson, and Candace Gibby, Brittany Shook and Jessica Egan, all of Seneca.

The Commissioner’s School is a summer program that challenges rising juniors and seniors to consider academic programs and careers in agriculture and natural resources. The program is a collaboration between Clemson University and the South Carolina Department of Agriculture.

“The goal of the school is to expose ambitious high school students to the array of career and educational opportunities in agriculture, natural resources and life sciences. The school appeals to students who want to make an impact and tackle global problems such as increasing our food supply, creating a sustainable environment and improving human and non-human health through the biomedical sciences,” said program director Katie Black. “Plus we have a lot fun, and if they leave here with their blood running Clemson orange, then that’s great, too.”

The students spent a week exploring both educational and career opportunities in science, business, management and technology. Each participant chose an academic track related to their interests in the animal, plant, or environmental sciences. The students also took field trips to Clemson University research farms, the Clemson Experimental Forest and a rafting trip on the Chattooga River.

“The Department of Agriculture staff and the staff at Clemson put on a fantastic program,” said Hugh Weathers, South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture. “It’s always rewarding to see these students get excited about agriculture.”

Applications for the 2015 Commissioner’s School are released in January. Email Katie Black at hulse@clemson.edu for more information.

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