Investing in the Next Generation of Agricultural Scientists
While pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, Hillary Sardiñas' goal was to translate research into practical information on the steps farmers can take to support native pollinators.
Along the way, she got critical funding support from a SARE Graduate Student grant. "Writing a SARE grant was a really great experience because it allowed me to articulate my research and come up with a budget for it," Sardiñas says. "I was able to hammer out a lot of the details that up to that point had been largely theoretical."
The impact of the SARE Graduate Student grant program is shared through stories, video, testimonials and numbers online at:
Sardiñas, now a pollinator conservation specialist with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, is one of 600 agricultural scientists who have received a SARE Graduate Student grant since they were first offered in 2000. Like many others, she credits the funding program—intended to support young scientists engaged in collaborative, practical research on sustainability issues—with helping her conduct meaningful research, get published and achieve her career goals.
Listen to Sardiñas describe the program in her own words:
The challenges that farmers and ranchers face are exceedingly complex, and the cornerstone of the SARE program is the idea that sustainable solutions to these challenges arise when scientists, educators and producers work together to test theories in real-world, on-farm situations. However, for this approach itself to be sustainable, there must always be a strong pool of agricultural scientists rising through the ranks who believe in it too—professionals who know how to use collaborative, applied research to address the real-world needs of farmers and ranchers.
This is why SARE began to offer research grants to graduate students. Experience with collaborative, real-world research is vital to ensuring the next generation of agricultural scientists will be well equipped to help farmers and ranchers address the complex challenges they face.