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Abstract
Agriculture graduates must be able to integrate knowledge and skills from different disciplines and use them along with their soft skills to function effectively. Interdisciplinary areas such as sustainable agriculture can enable students to acquire experiential learning through research internships while fulfilling this career requirement. Thus, 22 agriculture students at two land grant universities, engaged in agriculture-oriented research to improve their skills for their careers. The overall goal of this project was to develop and use evaluation instruments to assess the perceptions of undergraduates’ skills through research internships. Each student worked for two consecutive semesters on a research topic, such as organic farming, small-scale agriculture, or water quality. Based on assessments during the internship and exit surveys, interns and their mentors perceived that students improved in most of the targeted skills, including written and oral communication. Their critical thinking was also improved according to the student’s exit survey and the mentors’ evaluation. Writing was perceived as the lowest among students’ skills, even after improvement students showed 59% proficient. This study showed that agriculture majors benefited from the research internships and therefore, these programs that agriculture majors benefited from the research internships and therefore, these programs should be continued in order to prepare more agriculture students to compete in the workforce.

 

 

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