The Texas Tech faithful know the end of any athletic event or commencement ceremony will involve the singing of the alma mater. In just the third line of the Matador Song, the choir of novices sings, “Bear our banners, far and wide.” This spirit of adventure is ingrained in the Red Raider spirit, and it is something to be celebrated within the Davis College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Within this college, students can participate in study abroad, international scholars can call Lubbock home, and researchers can share their expertise with a global audience.
Davis College serves as a runway for students and faculty to experience international agriculture. These opportunities range from research for students and faculty such as the Fulbright Scholar program and various study abroad trips.
Students and faculty in the Davis College have traveled throughout the world – or have traveled to Lubbock from throughout the world – with the shared motivation of enhancing their education. With stops in Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe, South America and Europe, the Davis College is making an impact around the globe.
In 2005, David Lawver, Ed.D., professor of agricultural education, traveled to Kenya while supervising a graduate student’s dissertation data collection. This experience was so impactful that it inspired him to apply to be a Fulbright Scholar, a prestigious award that provides grants for higher education professionals to participate in international and cultural exchange.
In 2009, he was selected to be a Fulbright Scholar and headed back to Africa for four months. During his Fulbright, Lawver would teach extension education at Egerton University to help researchers more effectively spread their knowledge and information to farmers.
Lawver recalls the appreciativeness Kenyan students had for the opportunity to learn.
“You go into a lecture hall, and everybody sits up as close and as towards the center as you can get,” Lawver said. “So, you may have a room that’s capable of holding 200, and there’ll be 200 people in it, but there will be a ton of extra seats available because they’re all jammed up close to the front.”
Lawver said his experience as a Fulbright Scholar not only impacted his perspective about students and teaching, but it also impacted the way he helps African students yearning to teach others. He learned African countries do not have as many terminal degrees, the highest degree one can earn in their area of study. He said most of the agricultural education faculty who have terminal degrees there have earned them from overseas.
“I really value so much of the agricultural education faculty and agricultural communication faculty in Kenya or other African countries, but many don’t have terminal degrees and aspire to earn one,” Lawver said.
Lawver said he was inspired by the students’ desire to continue reaching their academic goals, and he wanted to help. So, he helped by introducing a new catalyst for doctoral students.
Students in Africa looking to teach were provided the opportunity to study in the Davis College, earn their terminal degree, return to Africa, or in some cases stay in the U.S., and encourage a new generation of students to continue pursuing their education.
Meyers is another member of the Agricultural Education and Communications Department faculty who has participated in the prestigious Fulbright Scholar program. During the summer and fall of 2022, Meyers – with her family by her side – moved to Australia for an immersive experience. While most of us in the United States were laying out by the pool in 2022, Meyers and her family were enjoying the cooler Australia weather. Her Fulbright award was supported by the Regional Universities Network in Australia. Meyers said she focused on researching agricultural communications efforts in Australia to identify similarities and areas of distinction when compared to the United States.
Meyers said her host institution, Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, provided outstanding learning opportunities for their students and the support that goes to regional agriculture communities. Meyers said many schools in Australia are teaching students to take what they learn in the classroom back to their hometowns. She said this concept is what she hopes to instill in her students at Texas Tech, many of whom – like in Australia – come from small towns with many miles between them and the next big city.
“They have a nice focus on that idea of community support and community development,” Meyers said. “And that is something that we, in agriculture, appreciate. Like rural America, we appreciate supporting small-town America, but that’s something I want to visit more with my agricultural leadership colleagues about: how do we help our students do that while utilizing their skills and talents they’ve developed here?”
Throughout her time in Australia, she said she learned the way of life and the mentality of people in Australia is different, which was one of her most impactful realizations and learning experiences while abroad.
“I love their spirit of just, ‘Give it a go,’” Meyers said. “I always viewed it as not being afraid to fail. ‘Just give it a go, you’ll be alright.’ I think that sometimes we’re so wrapped up in, ‘Well, what if it doesn’t work out,’ that I miss an opportunity.”
Saad Yousef Andalib is working to transform the way landscape architects view the world.
As a graduate student in the Department of Landscape Architecture, Andalib’s research focuses on making it easier for landscape architects to visualize landscape concepts and examples with the aid of Extended Reality (XR) technology.
During the pandemic, Andalib said students and designers were not offered the opportunity to go through the experiential process of visiting the site firsthand, which made their jobs significantly more challenging. He said he hopes his research can impact the way landscape architects see sites and design them.
Andalib traveled halfway around the world from Bangladesh to continue his landscape architecture studies in the Davis College. He said he felt Texas Tech could fulfill his educational wants and needs, which is why he made the long trip to Lubbock to finish his education.
“I found this potential to kind of go wild with infinite possibilities,” Andalib said. “You can think and do almost anything here. It’s extremely new and there’s no prior precedent in doing that (his research) in this field. But that freedom to do anything you want to do, that’s something I really loved a lot.”
He said he hopes to continue working on this research after earning his doctoral degree and plans to remain in the United States to do so. Although he would love to return home, he said he feels the materials and resources he has access to here are more than what he could find in Bangladesh. He does, however, want to carry his work back home, and even around the world, to impact landscape architects everywhere, for a positive global impact.
From his home country of Ecuador to the state of Louisiana to finding his home in Lubbock, Pablo Lamino, a doctoral student in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communications, is making an impact wherever he goes.
Lamino is studying indigenous groups in Ecuador as part of his doctoral research. He said this idea emerged when he realized these indigenous groups are being marginalized and suffering from racial issues. His goal is to help find a way to improve their lifestyles, understand why these issues are happening and why people a part of younger generations arewilling to move from rural communities in Latin America to the United States or to the main cities in their own countries.
Lamino said through his research he hopes to give a voice to these indigenous groups to help them fight against injustice.
“Based on my research, I want to know how to address some of their issues such as food insecurity, poverty and migration,” Lamino said. “That’s what I’m wondering, and that’s why I have been focusing on those groups.”
While having a background in education from multiple universities, Lamino said he chose Texas Tech to complete his education because of the opportunities he saw in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communications. Before attending Louisiana State University, Lamino completed an internship in Lubbock, where he met Amy Boren-Alpizar, Ph.D., associate professor in agricultural education, and the work she has done in Latin America. Along with Boren-Alpizar, Lamino saw the outreach and the expansive Hispanic community at Davis College and knew he wanted to be where others were also passionate about Latin America.
Lamino said the Davis College work environment is one he hopes to find in future work experiences. He said he loves the ability to collaborate with different people who share the same love of agriculture and education. The diversity of students in the Davis College, he said, is at the core of his love for the college and department.
“Something that I really like about here is you have different people,” Lamino said. “You have people from different countries, different continents, and inside the U.S. there are different states so there’s people all around, and you can talk and share. They all share the same love about researching how agricultural education programs or agricultural communication programs will help people improve in their communities or worldwide.”
Lamino’s impact can be seen through the awards he has won for his research and his passion for giving a voice to those who need it in Ecuador.
“I consider myself a hard worker,” Lamino said. “I continue to research even though it’s not required anymore. Later, I hope to return to Latin America and to make those connections. Also, to share the knowledge that I’m acquiring here in the U.S. I think that’s the goal and why I have continued researching Latin America, because you can improve the situation.”
In the summer of 2022, Carlye Winfrey spent June and July taking two classes through the Davis College in a nontraditional way. Instead of her usual walk down 15th Street in Lubbock, Winfrey, a senior agricultural communications major from Seminole, Texas, took a bus ride from her host home to the other side of town where she would then walk the block to the Texas Tech University Center in Sevilla, Spain. There, she would climb the stairs, sit in class and prepare for the evening’s adventure in the Spanish city.
Winfrey said her study experience was enjoyable, not because of the location, but because of the streamlined process of making it happen through Texas Tech.
“The study abroad office is so easy to work with,” Winfrey said. “You set up Zoom meetings, and they talk you through everything including financial aid and scholarships. I was surprised by how many scholarships and how much aid Texas Tech offers.”
With global campuses in Spain and Costa Rica and multiple partner universities, Texas Tech students have numerous options to study abroad. According to the Texas Tech study abroad office, about 1.85% of students in Davis College studied abroad in 2022 in comparison to the 1% average of U.S. college students who study abroad. Those who have automatically set themselves apart from others, which helps when applying for jobs or graduate school.
Winfrey said her study abroad experience has impacted her in all ways of life. She said the relaxed pace of life in Spanish taught her to slow down and focus more on a work-life balance. Overall, she said she feels it has made her an all-around better person while learning to truly value her time with those closest to her.
“The Spanish really value their family and their inner circle and it’s beautiful to see,” Winfrey said. “They are very, very connected locally to the people that they love. And so, I took back with me to cherish the time that I spend with others like they do.”
Winfrey is just one of the many students who have been impacted by the study abroad opportunities offered through Davis College, and she encourages all Texas Tech students to consider.
Lubbock, The Davis College
Whether it is Davis College students and faculty traveling abroad, or it is welcoming international students and faculty to Texas Tech, the spirit of the Matador Song is well-represented. As Red Raiders travel throughout the world and welcome international students to campus, these variety of perspectives enhance the knowledge base within the college while encouraging the creation of new curriculum to provide more enriching learning environments. Studying abroad is not only a high-impact learning experience, but also a chance to expand one’s knowledge of other countries and cultures while learning to become adaptable, a beneficial quality for students entering the workforce.
As the Davis College looks toward its next century, those who call this place home will continue to “Bear our banners, far and wide.”