Federal, Professors, and Students documents related to USDA Research Apprenticeship Program, 1983.


Federal, Professors, and Students documents related to USDA Research Apprenticeship Program, 1983.


In 1983, seven African American students were recruited into the Research Apprenticeship program, this time more boys than girls. The participating students were interested in careers in medicine, law, biochemistry, chemistry, biology, and animal/veterinary science. As in previous years, these student participants reported being very interested in research and developing positive mentor relationships with professors. Some students reported being interested in going into the agricultural field, and stated they might be interested in coming to NC State. Interestingly, some of the students reported their concerns about their paychecks and the lack of a social security deduction.
The students' names are omitted for privacy. 


USDA, Dr. H.B. Craig Associate Director of Academic Affairs in the School of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and participants of program.


Federal, Professors, and Students documents related to USDA Minority Research Apprenticeship Program, 1983, North Carolina State University, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Agricultural Institute Records, 1959-1998, UA100.040.006, NCSU Special Collections.




Raleigh, North Carolina


Excerpt from page 4 of collection. Please see PDF for full text:

"1983 USDA Research Apprenticeship Program Fact Sheet

1. What is the USDA Research Apprenticeship Program? 

A program through which high school students gain first hand experience in research and learn of related career opportunities.

2. Who is eligible to participate? 

High school students who will have finished the junior or senior year at the close of the 1982-1983 school year are eligible. One objective of this program is to stimulate interest among the minority communities in science careers.

3. What are the grade requirements?

Students must rank in the upper one-third of their class.

4. Is knowledge of agriculture required?

No. Experience in or knowledge of agriculture is not required, but should be considered in the determination of an appropriate research assignment.

5. Are there any special scholastic interests required?

Students with an interest and demonstrated talent in the agricultural, biological, mathematical, physical, or social sciences (economics) can be accepted.

6. Where will I be working?

As close to your home as possible. Federal and university laboratories will be participating throughout the U.S.A. Those that we select as a result of this mailing will be working at N.C. State University.

7. With whom will I be working?

Agricultural research scientists, economists, and statisticians, employed by either the Federal Government or a university who have an interest in young people and are willing to devote time to helping young people develop an understanding of research.

8. Will I be paid for the summer's work?

Each student selected for the program must receive the minimum hourly wage. Total wages for the period will be approximately $1260. The pay period will depend on the policies of the sponsor but should not create a hardship on the participant.

9. How many students will be selected?

The USDA will sponsor a minimum of 200. Additional students may be supported by the cooperating sponsors. We are not sure how many students we will be able to select. We had 6 last year at N.C. State." 

The excerpted transcription is a collaboration of student evaluation answers to questions provided by the School of Agriculture and Life Sciences. This transcription allows researchers to easily view the data. See PDF for full document.

Evaluations of Program by students:

"1. What are your career plans?

  • I plan to go into the field of Chemistry or Biology.(p.11)
  • I plan to Major in Pre med and become a physician.(p. 13)
  • I plan to major in laboratory animal science and pursue a career in vetinarian science.(p. 16)
2. Has the program provided the type of learning experience you expected?
  • I really learned a lot about research at NCSU(p. 6)
  • This program has given me more than I can ever repay.(p. 8)
  • I found it to be one of the best learning experiences I ever had.(p. 17)
  • Yes. You get the chance to learn about special equipment that ordinarily would not be available for you to use. (p. 19)
3. What was the most significant learning experience you had?
  • Working in the lab and getting to be around a lot of people, I learned about chemicals and the different instruments, in the lab, I also learned about the campus and campus life.(p. 6)
  • The most significant learning experience was the fact that I was given my own project to work which I plan to continue my research in the following summer.(p. 8)
  • I learned the value of research and acquired an appreciation of the amount of time and effort involved and I also obtained a certain amount of satisfaction out of seeing the results of my research.(p. 17)
  • Individual study: Working on my own project gave me a sense of responsibility. My professor (mentor) Dr. Corbin is a very concerned person who gave me all sorts of help.(p. 19)
4. Did you feel that the area in which you worked was the best one for your particular case?
  • Biochemistry is a very interesting area to me. When I major it will likely be in a course like biochemistry.(p. 7)
  • Because I plan to major in Chemistry and go into Medical school and the Genetics program is much like the Chemistry program.(p. 9)
  • Since I am interested in some type of medical field, microbiology would allow me to pursue many different specialities.(p. 12)
  • Since I plan to deal with animals, the area I was in was perfect for me.(p. 14) es. I found my area of research particularly interesting and it helped me to make up my mind about my future career interests.(p. 18)
5. One of the basic reasons (objectives for the conduct of this program was to aquaint you with some of the research that is being conducted in the School of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Have your ideas about research in the agricultural and biological sciences changed since you have been a part of the program?
  • Yes. I thought it would be a lot of book work. But I learned that when you got in the program you learned a lot by doing the work. Also, working in the labe can give you rewards and satisfaction.(p. 7)
  • I've found that the Research is more lab work than field work.(p. 9)
  • The research is much more interesting and exciting than I had thought it would be.(p. 12)
  • My ideas have changed because the research I read about in school was completed and forgotten about here and many new experiments were beginning to take shape.(p. 14)
  • Yes. I have previously pursued an interest in the physical sciences, but I found the biological sciences to suite my interests more. (p. 18)
  • Yes. Initially, I thought research was a monotnous boring process. But I discovered that research can be enjoying.(p. 20)
6. If you have not made a career (academic) choice, would you now have any interest in the agricultural sciences as a career? Please explain.
  • Yes, I would be a very interesting career to go into.(p. 7)
  • I have made a career choice (A Medical Profession). (p. 9)
  • Yes. Since I am still not sure about my future, anything would be considered. (p. 12)
  • I am more interested in the biological sciences. (p. 18)
  • Already decided(p. 20)
7. Did your research supervisor give you the guidance and supervision you thought you should have had?
  • He showed me how to do things and taught me a lot about biochemistry.(p. 7)
  • Dr. Spiker aided me in every aspect. He helped me to adjust to the Research life in the Genetics Dept.(p. 9)
  • Dr. Melton has been a tremendous help to me in that he has advised me on courses and programs that I would benefit from.(p. 12)
  • They gave me more. In addition to the supervisor, many of the employees and graduate students were always there to help me.(p. 14)
  • Dr. Roberts is a very good teacher and gave me enough responsibility and knowledge to get satisfaction out of my work. (p. 18)
  • Dr. Corbin was (and still is) a nice, considerate man who is willing to devote his time to make sure his students do the best job possible.(p. 20)
8. What comments, if any, do you have regarding the following:
  • Social Security: During the program I found that only the people who were paid out of their Dept's got social security taken out. It should be made sure of that every participant has social security taken out.(p.10)
9. Strong points:
  • Everything was just fantastic.(p. 10)
  • I think the strongest point was the fact that I was exposed to a small taste of college life and to many new people.(p. 15)
10. Weak Points
  • None.(p. 10)
  • I wish it could have been offered to me sooner so I could have attended it twice.(p. 15)
  • But certain of my proteges are not having social security deducted. (p. 19)"

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USDA, Dr. H.B. Craig Associate Director of Academic Affairs in the School of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and participants of program., “Federal, Professors, and Students documents related to USDA Research Apprenticeship Program, 1983.,” The State of History, accessed April 14, 2024, https://soh.omeka.chass.ncsu.edu/items/show/33178.