Ninety-five 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 3–30.
The one-month summer residential program for gifted students interested in agriculture and natural resources will provide hands-on, cutting edge, scientific and academic instruction to future leaders and scientists. The program, established in 2001, is designed to develop their understanding of the scope, opportunities, and challenges through academic and scientific rigor in the broad fields of agriculture, human health, natural resources, and natural sciences.
Students will receive instruction from Virginia Tech professors in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Natural Resources, and the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. In addition, agricultural education teachers from other 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, food and nutrition science, 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 advance scientific and computer technology to investigate those concepts."
Each student will be assigned to a "major," consisting of about 16 students, based on the interests of the students. 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 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.
Consistently ranked by the National Science Foundation among the top 10 institutions in agricultural research, Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences offers students the opportunity to learn from some of the world's leading scientists. The college's comprehensive curriculum gives students a balanced education that ranges from studying basic life science processes to economics to human health. The college is a national leader in incorporating technology, biotechnology, computer applications, and other recent scientific advances into its teaching program.