New president of Clemson MANRRS promotes diversity within College of Agriculture
CLEMSON – Caterra Heard-Tate, a senior nutrition major from Anderson, has been named president of the Clemson University chapter of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) for the 2020-21 academic year.
MANRRS’ mission is to promote academic and professional advancement by empowering minorities in agriculture, natural resources and related sciences. To do this, MANRRS hosts a variety of national conferences, regional meetings, AgDiscovery research programs and Jr. MANRRS leadership institutes.
Heard-Tate got involved with the MANRRS organization in her sophomore year at Clemson with help from MANRRS advisor, Bridgett Corbet, a lecturer in the Clemson College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences’ Food, Nutrition and Packaging Sciences department. As she got more and more involved with the program, she decided to take on a leadership role.
“There was a lack of spaces for minority students to go and congregate,” Heard-Tate explained. “Within CAFLS, I really wanted to be a part of that leadership and changing that narrative. There needs to be a spot for us, minorities.”
Heard-Tate has big plans for the MANRRS. During her time as president, she wants to develop the organizational policies and procedures to help sustain the organization after she graduates. She wants to bring in employers and other professionals to provide professional development opportunities for all minority students within CAFLS.
Heard-Tate’s passion to create and renovate spaces for minority students extends beyond the CAFLS lens.
In her sophomore year, she co-founded Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students (MAPS) with another student. This organization, like MANRRS, is STEM focused and designed to help minorities have a space.
The MANRRS national program was started in 1985, when a group of minority students from Michigan State University banded together to create a space designed specifically for minority students who were interested in agriculture and related fields of study.
Since 1985, the organization has grown to consist of six regions within the United States, including at total of 63 schools.
The organization also seeks to enrich members lives by having scholarships available, allowing members to interact with professionals, and giving access to job and internship opportunities.
Julian Nixon, one of two advisors for MANRRS and a Clemson alumnus, believes that MANRRS is a very important part of Clemson’s campus.
“One of the main reasons why you need MANRRS is for identity,” he explained. “Students of color need to be able to find, not just their career identity, but their social and personal identity as well. MANRRS allows us to create a lens and microphone that allows us to discuss STEM topics in a way that minority students can receive.”
The MANRRS chapter at Clemson currently holds 17 members. However, with its new president, the chapter is expected to grow.
Heard-Tate is a first-generation college student who aspires to be a cardiovascular perfusionist.
Her involvement with both organizations has allowed her to see positive change. She believes MANRRS has opened up a way for more students to come to CAFLS. She also believes it has helped students not only promote professional development but also to travel and network with others. She has personally been able to participate in the growing success of MANRRS by attending a national conference in Spring 2019 in Overland, Kansas.
Heard-Tate has many aspirations for MANRRS this academic year, but what she values most, is to include both diversity and inclusion for the different people and majors found in CAFLS.
“I’m super passionate about diversity,” she explained. “Clemson is already moving towards that, but I want to help trail-blaze it.”