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The ASPIRE Project engages undergraduates in agricultural-related internships in research, extension, and teaching, with mentorship from faculty in LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture.

The goals of this 10-week paid summer internship program include: 

  • Offering opportunities for undergraduates to develop their knowledge and skills in agricultural research and outreach
  • Expand the diversity of the talent pool in the agricultural workforce

Students from all ethnicities and backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Placement is open to everyone, and the program prioritizes recruiting and mentoring underrepresented and disadvantaged students.

The internships focus on six Farm Bill priority areas:  

  • Plant health and production and plant products
  • Animal health and production and animal products
  • Food safety, nutrition, and health
  • Bioenergy, natural resources, and environment
  • Agriculture systems and technology
  • Agriculture economics and rural communities

Partner institutions include LSU Alexandria, LSU Eunice, Southern University, Delta Community College and Baton Rouge Community College. 

What will a student experience?

Interns participate in an orientation training, focused on communication strategies, leadership, and personal branding strategies. After the initial orientation training, the interns disperse around the state to their respective internships - each student intern is placed with a trained expert mentor in either a research or extension internship for a 10-week internship. These internships vary in subject matter, but all include specialized training, research (or testing or experimentation) experiences, industry job shadowing, and one-on-one weekly professional evaluation meetings with mentors. Students are required to keep a professional journal and to take photos and video footage during their internship. At the end of the internship experiences, students reconvene as a group to reflect on their internship experience. 

Important Dates:

  • April 23 Application deadline
  • May 5 Applicants notified of selection
  • May 14 Acceptance/rejection of offer deadline
  • June 2 ASPIRE Orientation [for interns and mentors]
  • June 1- Aug. 6   Internship Experiences
  • Aug. 6 ASPIRE Career Training, Presentations and Closing Session

Who can apply?

Rising juniors and seniors from LSU and partner institutions with at least a 3.0 GPA are most competitive. Second year students and those with a minimum 2.5 GPA are also eligible and encouraged to apply. Each internship’s GPA requirements may vary. Twelve students will ultimately be selected through a competitive application, review, and interview process, and priority will be given to those applicants who will enhance the number and diversity of individuals entering the agricultural workforce. At least 50% of the participants will be chosen from outside the host institution. Students terminating early will be replaced using a waitlist of alternates derived from the initial application pool.

How to apply?

Submit completed application, resume, cover letter, transcript and two letters of recommendation (at least one from a current or former professor) by April 23, 2021. Any questions can be directed to Christina Zito Hebert at czito@agcenter.lsu.edu.

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Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture

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