Jr. MANRRS conference will give students a glimpse of college life


Students played a modifed version of Life at the 2016 Kentucky Jr. MANRRS Conference. Photo used with permission of Mia Farrell. 

Sarah Ladd

UK seeks through many events to nurture the next generation of students and empower them with the possibilities of education. The College of Agriculture is gearing up for this year’s Jr. MANRRS, an institute designed for this purpose.

Jr. MANRRS is a youth branch of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS), a national society devoted to diversity and involvement in science, technology, engineering, agriculture and math (STEAM) careers. Jr. MANRRS is designed to reach seventh through twelfth graders and expose them to the possibilities of STEAM careers and paths.

Jr. MANRRS will nurture the future leaders and help program participants increase and utilize their own knowledge and skills in order to solve problems and explore opportunities for Kentucky agriculture. The program also helps recruit and retain current and potential students to the UK. The institute will feature a fashion show, a Greek showcase, and leadership breakfasts.

“The mission of Jr. MANRRS is to promote academic and professional advancement by empowering diverse youth in agriculture, natural resources and related sciences,” said Mia Farrell, co-adviser for MANRRS and co-chair for Jr. MANRRS. “The Jr. MANRRS State Leadership Institute introduces participants to the viable career pathways in Kentucky’s abundant agriculture.”

In 2016, 230 youth attended the leadership institute. This year, more than 300 are expected.  The highlight of the institute this year is the men’s and women’s empowerment breakfast on Dec. 9 at 8:10 a.m. The ladies’ breakfast will be in the Seay Auditorium and the males’ in the Cameron Williams auditorium.  

Megan Bryant, a senior social work and pre-law student, is active in the institute as a co-chair. She said her work with the event has been a great learning experience. Bryant said that as she tried to balance academics and her work with Jr. MANRRS, she learned a lot about time management.

“(Jr. MANRRS) also helped me to be able to reach out to people who have never heard of MANRRS or Jr. MANRRS and encourage local youth to be a part of something great, and experience something they have never tried before,” Bryant said.

She said she is most excited this year about the fashion show, empowerment panels, and workshops.

“These aspects of the institute will truly give the delegates an insight on what it’s like to be a college student,” she said.

She said the Greek showcase and fashion shows will introduce the youth to the reality of college and their future roles at a university.

“I think people should be involved in this for the simple fact that many youth have dreams, goals, and ambitions to do something great,” Bryant said.

She said she wants to see the youth fulfill their goals and recognize their full potential. She said to bring them onto a college campus and let them see these things firsthand will help them with this goal.

The sixth annual Jr. MANRRS Leadership Institute will be held Dec. 8-9, 2017, on UK’s campus at the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.