The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 20, 2013

International program grows

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — The program began in 2008 with nine Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources’ students.

There are now 57 enrolled, and another 64 graduates from the Master of International Agriculture Program (MIAP) at Oklahoma State University.

Shida Henneberry, Regents professor and director of MIAP, chalks up the program’s success to its flexibility and the four-week International Experience required to graduate.

“The program is growing, there is no doubt about that,” she said. “Students can select from a wide range of focus areas or pull courses and make their own focus area. That’s why they succeed. They can use their comparative advantage to their own benefit.”

The MIAP degree is a 32 credit hour program, which can be completed within a year.

“Not many do it that way because they have such a positive experience and they want to stay longer,” Henneberry said

Students are expected to choose four courses to support their chosen focus areas, which include sustainability, disaster planning and management, commercial crops, food animals, business and trade, education and communication outreach, agritourism and hospitality, agricultural extension, rural entrepreneurship and agricultural engineering technology

However, if students cannot find a preferred focus area within the multi-disciplinary options, they can pick from a variety to find their own.

Much of that growth comes from the minimum four-week International Experience, where students find themselves immersed in unfamiliar cultures.

Elly Drain, a second-year graduate student from Michigan, just got back from Kenya, where she worked with a non-governmental organization to establish organic farming practices for women in the Rift Valley of Kenya.

“I came to OSU for this program, and the International Experience opportunity was a major selling point,” Drain said

She is hopeful her experience in Africa will allow her to work abroad for a few years before returning to the states to work in agricultural education and Extension. MIAP has a successful track record ofplacing graduates in jobs, both domestically and abroad.

Recent graduates have found employment at places such as the Royal Bank of Canada; the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association; Extension in Ohio, Colorado and Oklahoma; the United States Agency for International Development in Baghdad; and the Banana Grower’s Association in Belize, to name a few.