MSU professor recognized nationally as faculty mentor role model

posted on October 29, 2014 3:23pm

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MSU professor recognized nationally as faculty mentor role model

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Dave Weatherspoon, professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resources Economics (AFRE) at Michigan State University, (MSU) was nationally recognized as a faculty mentor role model in Washington, D.C. this month.

Weatherspoon was recognized for his efforts in advancing the recruitment, mentoring and retention of under-represented students in the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) during the 15th annual Minority Access National Role Models Conference.

Weatherspoon’s primary focus throughout his academic career has been to mentor, recruit and provide research opportunities for first generation students.

“It is an honor to be recognized with this award as a faculty member from a research university because mentoring is fundamental to teaching, learning and research,” said Weatherspoon, whose work is also funded by MSU AgBioResearch. “If faculty members throughout my studies and career had not taken the time to mentor me, I would not be in the position I am in today.”

He has received numerous honors for these efforts. In 2010, he received the Legend Award from the Minorities in Agriculture and Natural Resources Association. Weatherspoon founded this organization, which focuses on identifying and providing mentoring and networking opportunities to under-represented students in agricultural and related scientific fields, 30 years ago, while he was an undergraduate student at MSU.

Along with this work, he spends time with student athletes to guide them for success both on and off the field. He also mentors high school and undergraduate summer students as part of his food and social fiber economic research projects. This mentoring allows them to gain valuable, first-hand experience to better understand aspects of this research.

“I hope that students become excited about the plethora of opportunities and the impact they can have in the field of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics,” he said.

Weatherspoon said he is committed to address the pressing need to increase the number of minorities in doctoral programs in agricultural economics.

Encouraging culturally diverse populations to excel in the food and social fiber system is critical to the future, Weatherspoon said. 

“The food environment problems we face are complex, and many can be improved with adequate guidance and inputs.  I believe that efforts to increase quality-food access to the millions who are poor and  under-served, both domestically and globally, can benefit tremendously from  the valued input, experiences and intellect of those who were raised in such or similar environments.”

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