The Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences welcomed top-achieving high school students from across the state to the Texas A&M University campus for Summer Training in Agriculture and Related Sciences, STARS, Camp on June 16-19. 

A large group of students seated in three rows on hay bales in an outdoor setting.
Summer Training in Agriculture and Related Sciences Camp attendees in The Gardens at Texas A&M University in College Station. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Courtney Sacco)

This free, two-day camp gave students the opportunity to explore life as a Texas A&M student and get acquainted with the different majors and programs available across the 15 departments within the College. 

Students were also introduced to high-impact learning experiences like student organizations, education abroad, internships and faculty-led research—and received exclusive tours of Aggie landmarks and learning spaces on campus like Kyle Field, campus residence halls and The Gardens at Texas A&M University.

“We look forward to this event every year,” said Danielle Harris, Ph.D., assistant dean for student success. “These hopeful Aggies get a glimpse into ‘college life,’ and we get to meet some of the bright young minds from across the state and show them what their future could look like with exciting opportunities awaiting students in our College.”

Students stayed in a dorm and participated in classroom activities that helped them build rapport among their peers, meet current students and sort through their passions to determine what majors they might be interested in pursuing. 

Evolving programs to meet industry demand

This year, representatives from various departments, including the Departments of Agricultural EconomicsAnimal ScienceAgricultural Leadership, Education and CommunicationsEcology and Conservation BiologyHorticultural SciencesFood Science and TechnologySoil and Crop SciencesPoultry Science, and Rangeland, Wildlife and Fisheries Management were all in attendance.

“Our College is a founding pillar of Texas A&M University,” said Jeffrey Savell, Ph.D., vice chancellor and dean for Agriculture and Life Sciences. “While our roots remain steadfast, we continue to evolve and enhance our programming to meet changing needs of our state and reflect current industry trends. Careers in agriculture and life sciences are growing abundantly, and we anticipate a strong demand for our new college graduates in the next decade.”

report on Employment Opportunities for College Graduates released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, NIFA, projects U.S. college graduates can expect approximately 59,400 job opportunities in agriculture-related fields annually between 2020 and 2025.

Two students face each other and appear to be in conversation during a meeting
Students participating in one of the breakout sessions during STARS Camp. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Courtney Sacco)

“Our students graduate to become plant scientists, researchers, business entrepreneurs, medical and veterinary technicians, lawyers and more. Some continue their education in professional or graduate school,” Harris said.

“Flagship events like STARS Camp help us reach high school students at really pivotal times in their journey, to show them how a degree from our College can be a gateway to careers they might not even know exist.”

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, 40 attendees were welcomed to campus to participate in STARS Camp, in person. While virtual or one-day options were provided as an alternative the past two years, Harris said nothing can replace the experience the in-person camp provides prospective students. 

The camp also has a highly competitive application and selection process which helps create the most engaging and impactful experience possible for students.

For more information on how to attend STARS Camp in the future or to learn more about becoming a student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, visit aglifesciences.tamu.edu or email our recruiting team at recruit@ag.tamu.edu.

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