Seventh annual Governor's School for Agriculture to be held July 1 to 28

BLACKSBURG, Va., June 20, 2007 – One hundred rising junior and senior high school students from across the commonwealth have been selected to participate in this year’s Governor’s School for Agriculture to be held at Virginia Tech on July 1 to 28.

The one-month summer residential program for gifted students interested in agriculture and natural resources was established in 2001.

The program was developed to provide hands-on, cutting-edge, scientific, and academic instruction to future leaders and scientists to promote their understanding of the scope, opportunities, and challenges, through academic and scientific rigor of the broad fields of agriculture, human health, natural resources, and veterinary medicine.

Students will receive instruction from Virginia Tech professors in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Natural Resources, and the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. In addition, agricultural education teachers from school divisions around the state will be members of the school’s faculty.

The curriculum has been designed specifically to provide a balanced and diverse learning experience for gifted learners, said Tom Broyles, assistant professor of agricultural and extension education in Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of the Governor’s School. Each student will choose from sets of classes concentrating on animal science, natural resources, veterinary medicine, agricultural leadership, plant science, and agricultural economics.

“This is all very heavy into science and technology,” Broyles said. “These are gifted students, but I can promise that they will be challenged as they learn concepts of cutting-edge science and as they use advanced scientific and computer technology to investigate those concepts.”

Each student will be assigned to a “major,” a class made up of about 17 students, based on the his or her interests. Students in each major will complete the same specialized course designed to provide major-specific instruction and to prepare them to work on a major-specific project. Each major will be divided into work groups to undertake a group research project that will culminate in a symposium and poster session on the last day of the school.

Although the school curriculum is intense, students also will participate in a variety or recreational activities, field trips, and industry tours during the 28 days.

Nationally ranked among the top research institutions of its kind, Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences focuses on the science and business of living systems through learning, discovery, and engagement. The college’s comprehensive curriculum gives more than 2,200 students in a dozen academic departments a balanced education that ranges from food and fiber production to economics to human health. Students learn from the world’s leading agricultural scientists, who bring the latest science and technology into the classroom.