Guam – Five incoming University of Guam freshmen participated in the Caribbean and Pacific Consortium (CariPac) agricultural internship at UOG this summer.
The four-week program was designed to give students a taste of different specialties in agriculture including fieldwork and hands-on activities.
CariPac interns learn about Guam’s agriculture challenges, methods and techniques, from observing diseased ironwood trees to setting up drip irrigation in the backyard, to aquaponics and more. The students conducted fieldwork at the University’s agriculture facilities including Triton Farm and the Hatchery.
[UOG CariPac Interns receive their certificates of completion. From left to right: Christelyn Lopez, Rachelle Rapanut, Megan Taitague, Cencera Mantanona and Rebecca Rupley.]
“The one thing that stuck out the most to me was learning about aquaponics at Triton Farm,” said Rachelle Rapanut, a graduate of Simon Sanchez High School. “There were large tubs filled with tilapia and the water from those tubs would run through ‘raceways’ that contained lettuce seedlings. That water would then be pumped back into the tilapia tubs.”
[UOG CariPac Intern Rebecca Rupley holds up eggs harvested from chickens at UOG’s Triton Farm in Yigo.]
According to Dr. Prem Singh, professor of agricultural engineering at UOG, the most common misconception about agriculture is that it only concerns farming. “Students don’t realize that there are more than 30 specialized disciplines in agriculture in which they can get a Ph.D.,” Singh said.
In an age of environmental awareness, agriculture students can anticipate a boom in career opportunities. Graduates of the agriculture program may enter careers in research, genetics, agricultural engineering, education and even finance. “Banks often need consultants to assist farmers who seek loans for new farming equipment,” Singh said.
[UOG CariPac intern Megan Taitague, tests the PH balance in a soil sample.]UOG students have the potential to grow into a new crop of leaders in the field of agriculture. “It’s a challenge when high school students don’t have the foggiest idea about what agriculture is all about,” Singh said. “Enlightening students about agriculture is the first step.”]
“I was planning to major in biology, but now I’m considering agriculture,” said Megan Taitague, a graduate of Notre Dame High School. “This program opened my eyes to so many new things.”
For more information contact Dr. Prem Singh at firstname.lastname@example.org.