Lotus Carlson, Barbara Heath, Emily Fenton, Mark Priest,Hailey Darling, President Heineman

l-r: Lotus Carlson, Professor Barb Heath, Emily Fenton, Curriculum Specialist Mark Priest,
Hailey Darling, President William Heineman

A team of students from North Shore Community College (NSCC) are among those who have been chosen to participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), in cooperation with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).

The team will be one of 16 minority-serving educational institutions which will participate in the 2023 USDA Agricultural Export Market Challenge.

The NSCC team, along with other diverse student teams from colleges and universities across the United States, will tackle a case study addressing climate-smart agriculture, nutrition security, and international trade.

The student team members are Lotus (Jiarong) Carlson, Environmental Studies major, Byfield; Hailey Darling, Liberal Studies major, Walpole and Emily Fenton, Horticulture major, Salem.

NSCC Team advisors are Professor Barb Heath, Horticulture Program Coordinator and Mark Priest, Curriculum Specialist. In addition to their faculty advisors, each team has been paired with a professional with FAS who will serve as a mentor.

“(NSCC) President Heineman alerted me to this Challenge and after applying and being accepted, I immediately started recruiting student team members," said Heath.  “This is totally an extracurricular competition for these students, not part of a class assignment,” she emphasized.  “The students volunteered for various reasons, but mostly it's a chance for them to learn something new and explore other career paths.”

The Challenge, which will take place online for the next six weeks, is a case study of “Promoting Climate-Smart Agriculture Through Value-Added Soy Products.” Teams will compete in 4 areas: conduct economic analysis of export markets or value-added soy products; select one market and develop a 5-year marketing plan and promotional campaign; make a 10-minute oral presentation to senior officials to discuss your strategy and propose ways to work USDA/FAS and draft a concise and compelling 1-page document to present to FAS leadership that summarizes key points.

Launched in 2022, the Challenge is an immersive learning experience for undergraduate students. Participating teams explore the work of FAS and accrue knowledge and skills in diplomacy, economics, marketing, scientific analysis, and trade policy.

The winner of the final round of the presentations will be determined in early March and will have the opportunity to meet with USDA officials in Washington, D.C.



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