SAC Professor Awarded De La Garza Fellowship from USDA

May 28, 2019

SAC Public Relations

Sylvia De Leon, professor and coordinator of San Antonio College’s public administration program, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to receive the 2019 E. Kika De La Garza Education Fellowship. She is only one of 18 faculty and staff from Hispanic-Serving Institutions across the nation to receive the award. This summer fellowship program offers first-hand experiences in policymaking and research at USDA and other federal agencies.

The fellowships, awarded yearly since 1998, recognize highly accomplished staff and faculty at Hispanic-Serving Institutions. Fellows are selected based on the compatibility of their interests with USDA mission areas, as well as the value their experiences will add to their institutions' educational capacities.

De Leon said she applied because De La Garza was a legendary congressman who did much to help farmers and farm workers in Texas. “His leadership also provided first generation college students opportunities through scholarships and internships,” she added.

In June, Education Fellows attend a two-week program in Washington, D.C. They will meet with representatives of USDA and other federal agencies such as the Department of Education, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. Science Fellows collaborate with leading scientists from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Once she returns, De Leon said she will use what she learns from the fellowship to help her students apply for federal internships and job opportunities.

Hispanic-Serving Institutions are accredited and degree-granting institutions of higher education with a full-time Hispanic student enrollment of 25 percent or more. The E. Kika De La Garza Fellowship Program is an important platform for partnership between USDA and Hispanic-Serving Institutions to build awareness of USDA services, resources, and employment opportunities within the Department and the agricultural sector in general.