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A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Tech to host MINFORS program in October

By Lynn Davis

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 05 - September 26, 1996

Around 150 Native American, African American, Spanish American, and Asian American students from across America will come to the Virginia Tech campus October 5 through 9 to learn about the career options in forestry and related renewable natural resources.

"We intend to expose these students, from as far away as Hawaii, to employment opportunities they would not otherwise know about or have seen," said Rich Oderwald, associate professor of forestry, who is helping to coordinate the "MINFORS" conference for the College of Forestry and Wildlife Resources.

This will be the fifth year for the minority-student event, which was started in Huntsville, Alabama, and rotates college sites. The symposium will offer a mix of hands-on sessions on such topics as preparing job resumes and applications for graduate study, career-interest testing, financing graduate education, presentations by natural-resources professionals, and career exhibits.

Students will be exposed to the real world of jobs, and will be asked to identify natural-resource problems and develop solutions. Professionals will meet with students throughout the conference and become mentors for those who choose to pursue natural-resource careers.

Dean Greg Brown said that hosting this symposium was a golden opportunity for the college, which has been trying to diversify both its student body and its faculty. "We sent invitations out to the historically black universities as well as to other schools that have shown interest. We also included the tribal colleges and are hoping to build some relationships there because land management is a critical issue to Native American Indians."

Support from federal agencies such as the Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as from private corporations enables students to attend free of charge. The conference is also open to counselors, teachers, and advisors, as well as natural-resource professionals and employers.

It will be held at the Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center. For more information, contact Raynel Otero, 324 Cheatham Hall, Blacksburg VA 24061; 1-5481; fax: 1-7664; e-mail: minfors@vt.edu; Internet: http://www/fw/vt/edu.