USDA Program

   UTPA-USDA Student-Faculty Research Programs    




USDA-HSI Grant-Dr. Michael Persans

Students will have research project options which include: investigations into the mechanisms of tolerance of metal hyperaccumulator plants to heavy metals.


USDA/NIFA/HSI Collaborative Grant-Dr. K. Rod Summy

Students will participate in research designed to evaluate the effects of heavy metal accumulation (particularly arsenic) on spectral reflectance by foliage of selected native plant species. Photo credit: USFWS.


USDA-HSI Grant-Dr. Erin Schuenzel

Students will investigate population genetics and genomics of bacterial plant pathogens that infect a variety of economically important fruit and vegetables.


USDA-HSI Grant-Dr.Frank J. Dirrigl, Jr

Students will investigate how agricultural best management practices and canal engineering affects water quality through field and laboratory investigations.


UTPA-USDA Research Assistantships in Biology & Environmental Sciences

  • UTPA Undergraduate Scholarships $1500 per academic semester and/or $4000 for summer session
  • Graduate scholarships $5000 per academic semester and/or $5000 for summer session
  • Opportunity to intern at any USDA lab in nation 
  • Undergraduate student time commitment is 10 to 15 hours per week during academic semester. 40 hours per week during summer session 
  • Graduate student time commitment is at least 20 hours per week during academic semester. 40 hours per week during summer session
  • Funds available to attend scientific meetings and summer enrichment programs


     News & Events

USDA Internship Applications-Apply Now

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  • Applications are closed.
  • No more applications are being accepted at this time.


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Research Areas & Mentors

Dr. Michael Persans - Plant Biotechnology
Dr. Erin Schuenzel - Bacterial and Eukaryotic Genetics
Dr. K. Rod Summy - Remote Sensing and GIS Applications
Dr. Frank Dirrigl - Environmental Biomonitoring
Dr. Eliezer Louzada-Citrus Disease and Cold Tolerance
Dr. Robert Dearth-Mammalian Reproduction Physiology and Breast Cancer
Dr. Jason Parsons-Environmental Chemistry


UTPA Students to Undergo Giant Reed Study with USDA Scientists

The Monitor, November 1, 2011 -- Six University of Texas-Pan American students are beginning research on the giant reed this week, thanks to a $245,000 grant, even as the center facilitating the program prepares for possible closure.

UTPA Associate Professor of Biology Rod Summy received the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture Hispanic Serving Institutions grant, awarded to universities where more than 25 percent of students are Hispanic. The project funded is to let students conduct research and explore career opportunities as they help develop ways to combat the giant reed. Read more...