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The Challenges of Underrepresented Students in AgEd Programs

In collaboration with an agricultural and extension education (AEE) doctoral student, Joy Morgan and Wendy Warner co-authored an article on the challenges of underrepresented students enrolled in post-secondary agricultural education programs. The article appears in the journal JAE.

Joy Morgan
Wendy Warner

Motivations and challenges of underrepresented students enrolled in a post-secondary agricultural education program: community through diversity.

Authors: Jason H. Bullock, Joy E. Morgan, Wendy J. Warner


This study used an exploratory case study approach to explore the motivations and challenges of underrepresented students enrolled in a post-secondary agricultural education degree program. The study’s sample consisted of four agricultural education undergraduate students who self-identified as members of an underrepresented group (URG) categorized as: 1) ethnic minority, 2) LGBTQ+, 3) low income, and/or 4) first generation college student. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data with thematic content analysis to determine the themes present regarding motivations for enrolling and perceptions of challenges among participants. Motivation themes included students involved in high school agricultural education programs, positive influence of adults, fun and interesting agricultural content, community feeling, and exposure to teaching experience. Perceptions of challenges for participants were financial burden, cross-race effect, possible discrimination, and isolation. This study focused on underrepresented groups, therefore, generalizability across all students enrolled in agricultural education is not possible. However, this study does provide valuable insight into the perspectives of underrepresented students and a voice for these students to hopefully invoke change in policies, structures, and activities in agricultural education programs locally and nationally.