Ed transforms option
Preparing for the future
A past enriches the future
CASNR students travel the road to med school
Disaster brings new life
OSU works to feed the world
Itís a creepy, crawly adventure
Itís guaranteed tender
Students design new habitat for zoo animals
Future vet leads the way
FAPC helps cooperative "roll in the dough"
CASNR recognizes Fritz as outstanding senior
Cowboy Journal Home
Cowboy Journal Staff
Cowboy Journal Sponsors
Oklahoma State University
College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources
OSU Ag Communicators of Tomorrow
National Ag Communicators of Tomorrow
CASNR goes internationalAs agricultural job opportunities increase across the horizon, Oklahoma State University is taking steps to open new international interests in its students.
The OSU faculty is trying to place a new light on little known job possibilities in foreign markets for their graduates who are multilingual or have cosmopolitan experience.
David Henneberry, assistant dean for international programs in agriculture, is leading this push to integrate more international material into studentsí core curriculum to increase their chances of finding career opportunities.
"Many agricultural graduates donít even receive foreign language skills while attending college," Henneberry said.
"This is a missed opportunity for them because of the way the world is changing around us."
Henneberry has experience in more than 60 countries, specializing in building relationships between Oklahoma and Latin American nations.
His main concern is that currently only 5 percent of graduates leaving OSU have been exposed to agriculture outside of the United States.
"To prepare for the changes in todayís global marketplace, itís vital we raise the level of international exposure to at least 50 percent of our students," Henneberry said.
He said he hopes during the next two or three years that around 10 percent of what is taught in the classrooms will have an international base.
"Our students need to think of international aspects as being intertwined with the majority of agricultural enterprises, rather than something separate revolving around only a specific class or two," Henneberry said.
"In the United States, we have thought of ourselves as technological leaders in agriculture. However, things may be changing as the United States focuses on large scale farms while most of the world focuses on small farms."
This has led to an increase in technological advancement in other countries as more than 50 percent of agricultural patents filed in United States last year were from foreign individuals or companies.
"With a large number of American agricultural industries moving across the border into Mexico, an increasing number of todayís future employers want more students with Spanish backgrounds," Henneberry said.
James White, faculty member in agricultural education, agrees the ability to be fluent in other languages is an open ticket for the studentís choice of careers around the world.
White has worked on OSUís behalf in three countries and tries to bring this valuable experience into the classes he teaches.
He said agricultural students who have initiative could increase the value of their education beyond the degrees stated on their résumés.
"For example, those who learn Chinese, Japanese or Korean could easily enhance their opportunities as export sales representatives in many Asian markets," White said.
"To really learn the language you have to be immersed in the culture," White said.
"When potential employers look at résumés, they will hire the ones who can bring the most to the table. Itís the studentís responsibility to decide if they want to be above average and make a unique difference by taking a few extra steps to gain additional experience," White said.
To give undergraduates the opportunity to immerse themselves, OSU offers students a number of internships and educational study tours in foreign countries.
Henneberry said the cost of the tours varies depending on what part of the world they take place.
"For example, over spring break students can take a trip to the rain forest in Honduras and learn about tropical forestry from a specialist in that area," Henneberry said.
"At present, it costs around $1,700 per person. We are looking into renting dorm rooms in local universities and buses there for our transportation to cut down on the expense. Itís a learning process and we are trying to make it where more students can take advantage of the opportunity."
The Honduras educational study tour is available to any student with an interest in natural resources.
There are no classification or course prerequisites, but students must have their names on a waiting list and write an essay to be selected.
Interested students can go to the International
Forestry and Natural Resources class Web site for more information (www.okstate.edu/OSU_Ag/honduras).