PINE BLUFF, Ark. – Arkansas teens interested a unique, two-week career exploration summer program away from home with other teens can help ensure their spot by filling out the AgDiscovery application packet, that is now online, and returning it as soon as possible, well ahead of the March 12 deadline, said Willie Columbus, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) AgDiscovery coordinator.

AgDiscovery is a residential career exploration program for teens ages 14-17 that provides a first-hand look at many career paths in agricultural sciences. Students spend two weeks on the campus of a host university and learn from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) professionals, university professors and scientists, including practicing entomologists, plant pathologists, wildlife biologists and veterinarians.

In Arkansas, UAPB will host AgDiscovery teens June 9-22. Teens will participate in hands-on labs, workshops, field trips, and character and team building activities. Some of the field trips include the Little Rock Air Force Base to learn about wildlife management near airports; an overnight stay at the Heifer Ranch to explore agriculture and life in other countries; the Delta Rivers Nature Center for canoeing, archery and trail hiking; Martin Luther King Park to band geese; and tours of the Arkansas Vet Tech School and the UAPB Aquaculture Research Station.

Application deadline is March 12. Although students submit their application packets directly to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), students select their host university.

There is no cost to attend AgDiscovery. Tuition, room and board, lab supplies, meals and activity fees are covered by APHIS. Students are responsible for the cost of traveling to and from their host university campus.

Online application is the preferred method of application. Applications may be submitted online at www.aphis.usda.gov/agdiscovery. See application packet details for guidelines on essay topic and letters of application, and then follow the steps to apply online.

Students also have the option of mailing their application packet directly to APHIS, said Columbus. Emailed, faxed, or hand-delivered applications will not be accepted. Incomplete and those postmarked after the March 12 deadline will not be considered. If students have questions or need help, they can contact Columbus at (870) 575-7145 or columbusw@uapb.edu.

AgDiscovery is conducted by the USDA-APHIS in partnership with 22 colleges and universities throughout the nation, including Hawaii and the Virgin Islands.