Contributing to change
Jessica Barbosa Oliveira is a master’s student in the Graduate Program in Land and Atmospheric Science. An international student from Brazil, Jessica is working together with East African farmers to produce research-based information on culturally relevant crops.
An inspirational teacher
I was always interested in science and botany at school, thanks to an excellent teacher I had who always inspired me. This teacher advised me on which career paths I should choose, and that was when I chose to go to college for agriculture. I was offered a scholarship to attend a preparatory school, and a job that helped me pay for fees and other costs with college. That had a big impact on my life.
Supporting emerging farmers
My passion is food production and taking care of the soil. For my master’s, I am developing nutrient recommendations for East African crops—jute mallow and spider wisp—that have cultural value for immigrant farmers in Minnesota.
I love working on this project because as a Black person I know the struggles of the Black community to get involved in agriculture and farming in the US. Through this project I feel that I am contributing to a change in this scenario.
The power of education
Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." My advice for CFANS students of color would be, even if in some situations we don't have the necessary conditions to achieve our dreams, don't give up on them and always be aware of opportunities that can help you achieve them. Education is power and it changed my life!
On next steps
My next step is to finish my master’s thesis! I intend to continue in academia, pursue a PhD, and perhaps become a professor in the area of research and extension.
In Advancing Agriculture, members of CFANS’ Black community share their pathways in agriculture. From student researchers to faculty members, their contributions have an impact here in Minnesota and around the world.