MANRRS Spotlight: Irene Lewis

Minority college students looking to expand their network in agriculture can participate in leadership development with MANRRS. Irene Lewis served as the 2019-2020 national president as an undergraduate.

“MANRRS changed my life. I’ve met some of my best friends in MANRRS, and it’s been really integral to my personal and professional development. Not only is MANRRS professional network, but it’s a family and so a lot of the people on the national staff, they’ve known me since I was a freshman and they’ve always supported me and always poured into me and so I think it’s an organization where if you’re willing to show up and just to say you’re interested, you’ll find somebody who’s willing to hold your hand and bring wherever you want to go.”

Lewis is pursuing a master’s degree at Ohio State University and is currently an intern in the civil rights division at USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service.

“It was actually connected through MANRRS that got me connected with this internship program. So, it’s been an amazing experience getting to know how our federal nutrition programs work. Advancing racial equity is a really important part of the Biden-Harris administration. So being able to take some of the first steps in accomplishing that for the agency has been super fun, and building connections to be able to address food insecurity and hunger throughout America.”

And her hard work is being noticed. She was recently presented a $1000 scholarship from the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.

“As a graduate student, and as someone who was trying to get my foot in the door, trying to build my career in agriculture, scholarships always take the pressure off. And I think it’s encouraging to me to know that I’m in the right place at the right time with the right people. Making steps towards the career that helps build.”

To learn more or get involved visit the MANNRS website.