McALLEN Are you a biology major at STC? Are you interested in farming? Does academic research excite you? Then you should apply for two scholarship and work opportunities available exclusively to South Texas College students in collaboration with Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service and the USDA.

STC's Biology Department Research Scholarship will allow qualifying students to receive a scholarship worth $2950 for completing a one-year study. The work will be completed under the supervision of a mentor team, which includes an STC instructor and a scientist in a specialized field.

Through the project, students will work directly with Rio Grande Valley farmers and scientists from Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service. Some of the objectives of the work include establishing demonstration sites for best practices for organic vegetable producers, evaluating horticulture practices to improve soil fertility and reduce erosion, and evaluating organic pest management and carbon sequestration.

The new STEP Up to USDA Career Success Scholarship worth $5,000 will provide an avenue to prepare Hispanic students for careers in biological and environmental sciences. Through the scholarship program, participants will receive hands-on training with intensive short courses based in soils, biotechnology and environmental sciences that prepare them for soils, biological and natural resources science-related careers. Students will also have an opportunity to participate in an internship with an agriculturally related business or state or federal institution.

"This is a great opportunity for our students to put classroom learning into real-life research that will set precedence for organic farming not only in the Valley, but everywhere," said Dr. Debbie Villalon, program coordinator for STC. "Those accepted will earn great money for tuition and have their names attached to important research. It's a big milestone for anyone in the biology field."

To be eligible for consideration for the scholarship, students must be enrolled full-time at STC, have completed one semester at the college, have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and maintain it throughout the course of the program, submit an official transcript and two letters of recommendation and submit a personal essay.

Eight scholarship positions are currently available. For additional information contact Villalon at 956-973-7638 or