LU-SAAS Student Receives Justin Morrill Scholarship

LU-SAAS Student Receives Justin Morrill Scholarship

Written by Kendra Oregon

Langston University’s recipient of the 2018 prestigious Justin Morrill Smith Scholarship is Monica Mascarenas, a senior animal science major. The Justin Morrill Smith Scholarship is awarded by the 1890 Land-Grant Universities Foundation to 19 graduating seniors; one at each of the 1890-member universities. 

The $2,500 scholarship is a commemoration to Justin Smith Morrill who advocated dedicating public lands to create higher education institutions that taught agriculture and other subjects to all. In 1862, President Abe Lincoln signed the Morrill Land Grant Act, a law that ultimately funded 1862 Land-Grant institutions, and later established 1890 Land-Grant Universities dedicated to educating African Americans and other minority groups. 

Mascarenas is an outstanding student as she carries a 4.0 GPA. Apart from excelling in the classroom, she has participated in research projects both at the small ruminant research campus as well as in research laboratories. Mascarenas is also active on campus. She serves as the president and co-founder of the Animal Science Club; she is a member of the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS), student representative on the LU-SAAS Publication Committee, and a faithful volunteer in many other groups. With regards to her research endeavors, Mascarenas has participated in a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funded research project, the USDA Food Safety Symposium, the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Research Symposium, and American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) annual conference.

Mascarenas is known around the School as someone who is reliable and enthusiastic to share her Langston experience. One of her most outstanding characteristics is her positive attitude toward work that has not gone unnoticed by her peers, professors, and the University administration. The scholarship is a blessing to Mascarenas as she says, “Receiving this scholarship means a great deal to me. I am the second oldest of six, and my parents are not able to pay for my college. This scholarship allows me to focus more on classes without having to worry about how I am going to pay for school. It is truly an honor to be selected for my hard work and achievements.”

Department Chair for Agriculture and Natural Resources as well as her mentor, Steve Zeng, Ph.D., expressed high praise saying, “Ms. Mascarenas has exceeded all expectations and has been one of the brightest students to have matriculated into our program.” In presenting the award, Wesley Whittaker, Dean of LU-SAAS, lauded Mascarenas for her outstanding academic performance as well as her dedication to community service and social issues.

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