A summer agricultural research program enlarges community college students’ perceptions of agricultural careers





career development, undergraduates, program evaluation


This study examined the REACH program, a Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates (REEU) program, aimed at improving agricultural literacy and career development among community college students. This study employed a one-group pretest-posttest design using the Perceptions of Agriculture and Agricultural Careers questionnaire (quantitative) and participants’ written responses to an open-ended question about agricultural career and academic plans (qualitative). Data were collected on the first and last day of the program to compare benchmarks to student achievement. The scaled responses were analyzed using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test, a nonparametric test. The open-ended responses were analyzed using content analysis. REACH Scholars developed more specific career plans and more favorable perceptions of personal job opportunities and their own capabilities in agriculture during the program. Regarding occupational requirements, the scholars’ perception that many agricultural leaders had a college education significantly improved over the course of the REACH program. Despite these improvements, their views about agricultural occupations in general, including food processing, food inspection, forestry, and natural resources management, were not significantly different from pretest to posttest. This study demonstrated an effective evaluation strategy for evaluating undergraduate research programs in agriculture and the allied sciences. Recommendations include strategies for greater outcome evaluation of REEU programs. 


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How to Cite

Donaldson, J. L., Gwinn, K. D., Stephens, C., Chmely, S. C., & Moody, T. (2023). A summer agricultural research program enlarges community college students’ perceptions of agricultural careers. Advancements in Agricultural Development, 4(3), 41–53. https://doi.org/10.37433/aad.v4i3.315




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