Thomas Wyatt Turner Fellowship Program

Our Thomas Wyatt Turner Fellowship supports graduate students from 1890 institutions to become next-generation leaders in inclusive and sustainable agricultural development through a robust mentorship program and technical training at Cornell University.

Eight graduate students from 1890 land grant institutions have been selected as part of the inaugural cohort of Thomas Wyatt Turner Fellows. The fellows bring a holistic lens to the most pressing threats facing global food security.

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement Thomas Wyatt Turner Fellowship seeks to increase the number of women, LBGTQ+ and students from underrepresented backgrounds engaging in research and capacity development activities in inclusive and sustainable agricultural development.

With principles of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility at its core, the Fellowship supports students from underrepresented backgrounds while developing culturally responsive research mentors at participating universities.

By building equitable and mutually beneficial relationships with 1890 institutions, we can draw on the strengths of those institutions, giving us an opportunity to expand human capital and technical expertise in fields related to inclusive and sustainable agricultural development.

Fellowship dates

August 2022 – May 2023

Fields of study

Fellows specialize in a wide variety of disciplines, so long as it relates in a substantive way to inclusive and sustainable agricultural development — from plant sciences and nutrition to gender and climate resilience and beyond.

Our goals

  • Develop and engage students from underrepresented backgrounds in a culturally-responsive research mentorship program that will enhance their likelihood for success in graduate programs and for future careers in inclusive and sustainable agricultural research for development.
  • Foster a more diverse, equitable and inclusive talent pipeline within agricultural research for development and related fields.
  • Enhance ILCI and Cornell mentorships skills through a student-centered and culturally-responsive research mentor training program.
  • Foster increased collaboration and research between faculty members from Cornell University and 1890 institutions in inclusive and sustainable agricultural research for development.

The Fellowship

The Fellowship supports nine graduate students from 1890 institutions, which are historically black colleges and universities that are land-grant universities. The target audience is current Master’s or Ph.D. students who are currently pursuing graduate degrees in fields related to inclusive and sustainable agricultural development — from plant sciences and nutrition to gender and climate resilience and beyond.

Fellows are placed in research teams/labs at Cornell University and work closely with peers throughout their fellowship. Fellows’ home institution advisors are be directly engaged as well, creating linkages to both support Fellows’ success, and create enhanced and lasting linkages between the 1890 institutions and Cornell University faculty and research programs.

Fellows will be at Cornell August 2022 through May 2023.

Mentorship education training program

Evidence shows that mentorship is a learned skill, and that mentors and mentees can learn to be more effective and more culturally responsive in their relationships through mentorship education. The TW Turner Fellowship Program collaborates with CIMER to integrate evidence-based, culturally responsive mentorship education, and resources for program mentors and mentees.

Thomas Wyatt Turner Fellows, 2022-23

Abigail Ayorkor Armah

MS Food Science and Biotechnology, Delaware State University

Tekiyah Brewley

MS Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Tuskegee University

Karter Couser

MS Biology, Virginia State University

Oluwatomi Esther Jacobs

MS Plant Genetics and Bioinformatics, Delaware State University

Venkata Hemanth Limmada

MS Plant Sciences, Delaware State University

Maia Payne

MS Environmental Sciences, Tennessee State University

Sanchez Rolle

MS Public Health and PhD Integrative Biosciences, Tuskegee University

Lauren San Diego

MS Food and Nutrition, North Carolina A&T State University

Turner Fellowship team

Levon Esters

TW Turner Fellowship director

Devon Jenkins

ILCI program manager

Stephen Kresovich

ILCI director

Alice Ginsberg

TW Turner Fellowship program evaluator

Ciara Coughlin

ILCI monitoring, learning and evaluation advisor

Learn more about Thomas Wyatt Turner

Fellowship partners

This work was funded in whole (or part) by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under Agreement 7200AA21LA00003 as part of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement Minority Serving Institutions Fellowship Associate Award. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here are those of the authors alone.