UTIA Hosts International Scholars for USDA Fellowship Programs

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UT Faculty Engage in Mentorships to Impact Future Generations of Veterinary and Animal Science Professionals

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Nine Faculty Exchange Program (FEP) and five Scientific Exchange Program (SEP) veterinary medicine fellows have arrived in Knoxville from four countries in East Africa and will be at University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture College of Veterinary Medicine for three months. These programs are funded through the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and they focus on veterinary teacher pedagogy and animal health governance. Marcy Souza, professor and associate dean for the Office of Outreach and Global Engagement at UTIA CVM, is serving as the project lead for these programs. The visiting SEP fellows are all from Kenya, and the FEP fellows are from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ghana. They will be matched with UT faculty members from three different colleges for mentorship for the duration of their programs.

A delegation from the UTIA including Tom Gill, associate professor and chair for the Smith Center for International Sustainable Agriculture, Marcy Souza, and Mary Shelley-Snell, global communications leader for the Smith Center, met the fellows in Washington, D.C., on August 14 to welcome the fellows to the United States and to attend a pre-program visit with the FAS faculty and staff. This visit included introductory talks between the fellows and the FAS Fellowship Program, the Global Program and the Office of the Administrator leadership teams as well as a tour of the USDA building.

The fellows were able to meet the Administrator of the FAS, Daniel Whitley, who talked with them about the importance of these programs. Whitley discussed how their experiences here and the knowledge they gain through their fellowships will go on to improve the future of the industry. He also highlighted that it’s not only the fellows who will benefit from these programs, but their UT faculty mentors will learn from their international colleagues as well.

“The fellowships are exposing us to first class approaches in research and the training of future scientists, who should be well-equipped to address the emerging animal and public health challenges of the twenty-first century,” Joseph Kungu, veterinary faculty from Makerere University in Uganda, said. “Mentorship with a network of seasoned world class scientists, with a practical feel of latest the technology in training, has helped us think about how we can make systems work better back home.”

The FEP and SEP fellowship programs and the partnership with the FAS offer the potential to exchange insights and increase global collaboration at UTIA, while also impacting the future of the international agricultural industry. “Fellowship programs like the FEP and SEP create the opportunity for faculty here at UTIA to share their knowledge on effectively communicating and teaching scientific topics, while also learning from their international colleagues,” Gill said. “This not only prepares the fellows to return to Africa with a deeper toolkit to improve their teaching and research, but it also strengthens our institute’s global partnerships.”

UTIA is also hosting two Borlaug fellows from Mexico are currently researching fungi and biofertilizers for three months with Bonnie Ownley, professor, assistant department head and director of graduate studies in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. Meanwhile, five Cochran Fellows from Cambodia arrived in D.C. on August 21 to meet with the USDA before traveling to Tennessee for their program. The purpose of their fellowship is to learn more about how to measure, track, and disseminate information about grain production. Another group of Cochran fellows will be arriving in September from East Africa, and will be focusing on production, regulatory standards, and trade and policy for the beer, wine and spirit industry. Both groups will be working with the Smith Center and the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Please join the Smith Center at the UTIA International Showcase on Friday, September 23 to meet these fellows and learn more about global engagement across UTIA. Learn more about these fellowship programs and the Smith Center, as well as their International Showcase by visiting smithcenter.tennessee.edu.

Through its land-grant mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. utia.tennessee.edu.

Media Contact

Mary Shelley-Snell

Smith Center for International Sustainable Agriculture