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Young Agri-Scientists Program


Our Program

The Young Agri-Scientists Program was created to provide and evaluate an enhanced undergraduate research experience to students in agriculture, food, and natural resources (AFNR). This is a collaborative effort with Texas Tech University to recruit future scientists in AFNR. Selected students at New Mexico State University will engage is active research with faculty members from the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES). The goal of this project is to increase the amount of diverse student graduates to meet the global need for leading agricultural scientists who are well-versed in research as well as the diffusion of research through scientific communication. 

To complete these goals, faculty will work alongside undergraduate research participants to guide and mentor students through the experiential learning process of hands-on research. Additionally, students will receive training on presenting research and disseminating information. Students with research interests or topics in AFNR are encouraged to contact Dr. Fraze or Dr. Roberts for more information.

This program is centered around the AFNR sciences and geared especially towards Hispanic and other minority or underserved populations. There is a great need for more diverse experiences in AFNR careers. This program will allow students a chance to explore research and future AFNR careers. 

Up to eight (8) undergraduate recruitment scholarships valuing $5,000 are available to support Hispanic and/or underrepresented students interested in pursuing undergraduate research opportunities within AFNR. Students will also received support for conference and research travel. 

Recruitment for this project begins Summer 2022 with activities beginning in Fall 2022. 

This project will be conducted for two co-horts of four (4) participants beginning in 2022 through 2023 and 2024. Participants will engage in research activities throughout the years and provide presentations over research in appropriate semesters until the project concludes in 2025.

For more information, contact Dr. Steve Fraze at or Dr. Lacey Roberts at

Continue below for program updates, student highlights, and additional director information. 

Program Directors

A native of Dora, New Mexico, Fraze earned his bachelor's degree in agriculture from Lubbock Christian University and his master's degree, along with a teaching certificate, from Texas Tech. He received his doctorate from Texas A&M University. He previously worked as a visiting instructor in Texas A&M University's Department of Agricultural Education, and was a vocational agriculture teacher in New Home, Texas and Olton, Texas. Dr. Steve Fraze assumed the duties of Department Head of Agricultural and Extension Education in the College of Agricultural in January 2020.

Contact Dr. Fraze ▸

Dr. Lacey Roberts is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Agricultural and Media Communications from West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Tx. She received her master’s degree in International Agriculture from Oklahoma State University, and her Ph.D. in Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications from Texas A&M University. Her doctoral work focused on the visual communication efforts of international agricultural development programs. 

Contact Dr. Roberts ▸

Graduate Research Assistant


Fisher EasleySmith is a second-year master's student studying Agricultural Communications. She grew up on a farm in Farmington, NM, and participated in 4-H and theater throughout her younger years. In 2018, she began attending New Mexico State University and majored in Agricultural Education with minors in Communication Studies and Journalism and Mass Communication. She graduated with a bachelor's in science in May of 2022. Fisher's research is focused on collegiate food insecurity and visual media. However, her research endeavors are diverse and include topics like science communication, communication theory, and visual literacy. She loves to find new innovative ways to teach scientific topics in the classroom, such as introducing new technology. Fisher has a passion for research and teaching, with the hopes of one day making it her full-time job. Currently, Fisher is serving as an Editor for the interdisciplinary undergraduate journal. The AGORA. Along with her love for education and research, Fisher loves her dog Friday, photography, reading, hiking, traveling, and learning new things about the world around us.

Contact Fisher EasleySmith ▸