Congratulations to the 2021-2022 recipients of the Smith-Pickard Friendship and Alliance Scholarship, who are attending Florida A&M University in the College of Agriculture and Food Science/School of Business & Industry. The scholarship is designed to support young leaders who aspire to work in the agricultural field.
Meet our future agricultural leaders:
- Makailah Danzy, Kalamazoo Central High School
- Aaron Richard Jr, University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy
- Alexis Roberts, Mercy High School
- Sydney Smith, Detroit Public Schools Community District
- Hubert Fernander, Pace Christian Academy & The Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute
- Dionne Star Jones, Bishop Michael Eldon School
Hometown: Kalamazoo, Michigan
Graduate: Kalamazoo Central High School
Makailah Danzy is in her freshman year as a bioprocessing and food engineering major.
“I’m interested in agriculture because I love to learn about the processes of how things are made. Over time, I’ve noticed that most, if not all, processes start with agriculture. Agriculture can benefit my community by promoting agricultural education, benefiting the natural environment, and increasing access to healthy, local foods. Everything we had today started with agriculture, from the foods we eat and all love, to the clothes on our backs,” Makailah said.
Aaron Richard Jr
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Graduate: University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy
Aaron Richard Jr is majoring in biological systems engineering. On campus, he plays in the intramural flag football league, is a member of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS). MANNRS is a national society that welcomes membership of people of all different races and ethnic groups participating in agriculture and related sciences.
“I’m interested in agriculture because I feel that it’s an overlooked topic,” Aaron said. “I used to help my grandmother plant her garden when I was younger, and I always enjoyed my time helping her, which made me consider a career in agriculture.”
Hometown: Northville, Michigan
Graduate: Mercy High School
Alexis Roberts is majoring in business administration and minoring in agriculture. Using her talent and drive, she also is in the process of walking on to the girls’ basketball team at Florida A & M University.
“Living in Michigan, I thought of agriculture as farming, and I didn’t know what else it had to offer until I started researching all the business opportunities. As I learned it’s a big part of everything we do on a daily basis, I grew interested in it and wanted to explore it more. I’m really interested in finance, and I’d love to meld my finance and accounting interest with agricultural business,” said Alexis. “This award gives me a great opportunity to experience new things out of state and figure out what I want to do for a career.”
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Graduate: Renaissance High School
Sydney Smith is majoring in business administration and minoring in agriculture.
“Until I started applying for college and doing research, I didn’t realize all of the opportunities there were for business in agriculture. As one of the biggest industries in Michigan, I’m excited to minor in agriculture.,” Sydney shared. “Right now I’m taking my pre-business classes and getting into the flow of things. I always hope that during my career I do some things to better, or benefit, the African American community. If I can play a role in helping to provide Black-owned businesses to farm, cultivate, or produce quality products, foods, and materials, I will feel good about my career.”
Hometown: Nassau, Bahamas
Graduate: Pace Christian Academy & The Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute
Hubert Fernander is majoring in agriculture science.
“In the Bahamas, I boxed internationally. As a result, I paid attention to my nutrition and diet. I tried to start growing my own food, and from there, I became interested in agriculture. So far, I’m having a good time at school. We watched a lot of international news in the Bahamas, and Florida is much better than it was portrayed. I like my lectures, and I work out at the gym in our apartment, and I’m having a good time,” Hubert said.
Hubert said about his education before attending Florida A&M university: “In this picture I’m working on my research experiment diluting sulfuric acid. The experiment was on seed scarification on cascarilla seeds. I performed this while I was at The Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute.”
Dionne (Star) Jones
Hometown: Freeport, Bahamas
Graduate: Bishop Michael Eldon School
Dionne (Star) Jones is majoring in agriculture science.
“Even though my name is Dionne, I’m affectionately called Star by everyone. I’m interested in agriculture mainly because where I’m from (the Bahamas), we desperately need to cultivate that industry. Also, I want to ensure that the food products that are put out into the world for others to consumer are reliable and good quality,” Dionne said. “When I’m not working on school, I enjoy reading, writing, and listening to music.”