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AHS Students Present at Graduate Student Research Symposium

The 17th Annual NC State Graduate Student Research Symposium was held today at the McKimmon Center. The symposium featured four students from the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences, including Abasiama-Arit Aniche, Jillian Ford, Saifur Rahman, and Elisabeth Ramsey. It is held each spring and includes poster presentations from more than 200 graduate students. Posters are judged by faculty, and students receive recognition for top posters. The goals are to showcase the outstanding quality and diversity of graduate-level research at NC State, in addition to providing students with the opportunity to practice and enhance their communication skills with those outside of their discipline. The event is sponsored by the Graduate School and the Graduate Student Association and is open to the public. Learn more about our student’s research below.

Abasiama-Arit Aniche

Effect of Cultural Norms and Traditional Beliefs on the Lived Experiences of Women in Agriculture in Rural Communities

Authors: Abasiama-Arit Aniche, Katherine McKee, Jackie Bruce


This study examined the effects of cultural norms and traditional beliefs on the lived experiences of women in agriculture in rural communities in Nigeria. Semi-structured interviews with rural Nigerian women and men yielded thematically examined qualitative data. The results revealed that cultural and traditional practices significantly impact the involvement and economic and social progress of women in agriculture in rural communities in Nigeria. Conservatism, patriarchy, and subsistence farming are central cultural norms and traditional beliefs in these communities. These norms and beliefs institutionalize discrimination against women, exclusion of women from decision-making, relegation of women to domestic duties, and restriction of women’s access to productive resources and economic opportunities, perpetuating their dependence on men. Women’s groups act as a support system because they enable women to voice their concerns in various forums. The study recommends interventions that promote gender justice, education, and resource access to empower women and improve their livelihoods.

Jillian Ford 

School-Based Agricultural Education Teacher Perceptions of Supervised Agricultural


Authors: Jillian Ford, Misty D. Lambert, Travis D. Park, Joseph Donaldson, and Barbara Fair


School-Based Agricultural Education (SBAE) consists of three components: Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE), leadership development (FFA), and classroom instruction. SAE is the work-based learning component and is often believed to be the least implemented of the three. To address previously indicated barriers of SAE implementation and better serve all SBAE students, the National Council for Agricultural Education created a committee which established the SAE for All model in 2015, but little is known about its diffusion among SBAE teachers. This descriptive survey was framed by Rogers’ (2003) Diffusion of Innovations Theory and investigated SBAE teachers’ adoption of SAE for All and their perceptions regarding the characteristics of the model. The Qualtrics survey was disseminated by state agricultural education leaders to SBAE teachers in 34 states, receiving 505 usable responses. Participants were asked to identify their current use of SAE for All and indicate their level of agreement to statements related to the perceived characteristics of SAE for All on a five-point Likert scale from (1) strongly disagree to (5) strongly agree. Participants varied across the five stages of the innovation-decision process. The decision to adopt SAE for All was made by 47% of participants, while 14% were actively rejecting it and the remainder had not made it to the decision stage yet. Participants recognized the relative advantage and compatibility of SAE for All but struggled with the complexity of the model. To support the diffusion of SAE for All across the country, state and national SBAE stakeholders could offer concrete examples of SAE for All implementation in SBAE programs and highlight stories of student success. Teacher educators should continue to teach the basics of SAE for All as well as providing pre-service teachers with tools to effectively implement all facets of the model in their future SBAE programs.

Saifur Rahman

Comparing Virtual And In-Person Delivery Of A Summer Agricultural Research Program For Women Undergraduates

Authors: Saifur Rahman, Joseph L. Donaldson, Kimberly D. Gwinn, Carrie Ann Stephens, Melissa A. Cregger, Scott Emrich, Rebecca T. Trout Fryxell, Shelli D. Rampold, Denita Hadziabdic, Sarah Lebeis, Bode A. Olukolu, Bonnie H. Ownley, Margaret Staton, Tara Rickman, Zane Smith, and Aaron Onufrak


Research indicates that Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduate (REEU) programs, funded by USDA and other sources, are valuable for exposing undergraduates to agricultural research and extension careers while helping them to develop career-ready skills. This study describes Explore BiGG (bioinformatics, genetics, and genomic sciences) Data, a summer research program for women undergraduates. BiGG is aimed at both supporting the BiGG workforce and increasing women’s participation in food, agricultural, and natural resource careers. BiGG was delivered virtually in 2020 and 2021 (N=14) and in-person in 2022 and 2023 (N=12). This convergent, mixed-methods study used questionnaires and interviews to compare student outcomes for both virtual and in-person formats. The student outcomes studied were academic and career plans, mentoring, and career readiness skills including problem-solving and project management. Results indicated that outcomes were similar for both virtual and in-person programs. However, a key difference was that in-person participants had significantly more experiences than virtual participants in sharing their research in journal articles and professional presentations. While the amount of time that participants reported spending with their research mentors was similar for both delivery modes, in-person participants were more satisfied than virtual participants with their experiences in working with research mentors. Virtual REEU programs may be a cost-effective pathway for enfranchising additional students with agricultural research and extension career experiences. Yet, student preference for in-person experiences must be considered in planning worthwhile REEU programs.

Elisabeth Ramsey

Navigating Pork Perspectives: Insights into Tailored Communication with Diverse Audiences

Authors: Elisabeth Q. Ramsey, Catherine E. Sanders, Alexa Lamm, Shuyang Qu, Fallys Masambuka-Kanchewa, Mike Retallick, and Kevan Lamm

In response to growing concerns and scrutiny surrounding the pork industry, this research explored tailored communication strategies for addressing diverse consumer landscapes. The study was guided by an audience segmentation framework, which explains how effective communication channels, message alignment, and trustworthy sources can enhance communication efforts with various demographic and psychographic groups. Data were collected at a midwestern swine conference in September 2023 through focus groups exploring pork industry stakeholders’ beliefs about consumer perceptions of the pork industry. Three research questions guided the study: 1) How do participants describe their experiences when communicating with diverse audiences?; 2) What challenges did participants describe for communicating with diverse audiences?; and 3) What cultural aspects were influential in participants’ communication with diverse audiences? Four themes emerged from thematic analyses. First, speaker credibility played a pivotal role, emphasizing the impact of individuals’ expertise in shaping perceptions. Second, the language around production and harvest demonstrated the significance of adapting terminology based on the audience. The third theme highlighted the need for evolving communication channels, emphasizing the shift from traditional face-to-face interactions to digital strategies. Lastly, the theme of cultural foodways and rituals underscored the disconnect between industry perceptions and the cultural significance of pork in non-Western diets. Participants identified awareness gaps among industry stakeholders, especially regarding consumers’ cultural foodways and the central role of pork in non-Western diets. The findings emphasized the necessity of targeted communication strategies through a diverse range of channels, including face-to-face interactions, social media, and family-centric approaches. Findings demonstrate the need for future investigations into how consumers from minority groups engage with pork, with the ultimate goal of developing effective communication strategies tailored to diverse audiences. This study contributes valuable insights into the pork industry’s communication strategies, paving the way for informed and culturally sensitive engagements with consumers.