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Agriculture Future of America sponsors three Delta State students, professor to attend Annual Leaders Conference

Delta State University was represented during the 25th Annual Agriculture Future of America Leaders Conference by (pictured, from left) Tharushi Galwadu, JuEun Yun, Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding and Hunter Ray.

CLEVELAND, Miss.— Three Delta State University students and a faculty member were recently sponsored by Agriculture Future of America (AFA) to attend the 25th Annual Agriculture Future of America Leaders Conference, hosted Nov. 11-14 in Kansas City, Mo.

The AFA Leaders Conference is a flagship event that focuses on professional and personal development for undergraduate college students. This year’s conference theme centered on “building bridges” among peers and professionals that are engaged in agriculture and the food industry.

Attendees included more than 700 students, numerous executives and experts from food and agricultural companies (Bayer, Hills Pet Nutritional Inc., Land O’Lakes, Stone X, Union Pacific, Syngenta, John Deere and more), esteemed college deans, board of directors and university professors.

Delta State students attending the conference included Hunter Ray, a junior Aviation major; Tharushi Galwadu, a senior Chemistry major; and JuEun Yun, a junior Biology major. Joining the students as the liaison was Professor of Biology and Environmental Science Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding.

This marks the first year Delta State was represented during the event. All three students found the conference meaningful with regard to their respective career pursuits.

“The networking events were inspiring, and the conference provided insight into personal and professional attributes that can be used by all students,” shared Ray.

“AFA is gender-inclusive, highly accepting of personal beliefs and aware of modern societal standards,” he added.


Over the four-day period, students were provided time to network with professionals and their peers. They also attended an Opportunity Fair as part of their leadership and development training where they could interview for an internship or acquire a full-time position.

Students also were required to attend many question and answer sessions that covered a wide array of topics, including Mastery of Money, Why Graduate School, Managing the Family Agricultural Business, How to Convey your Message, How to Make a Positive Impact, Values of Cultural Awareness and more.

Students were exposed to new agricultural and food developments, such as vertical container farming, requirements for shipping produce and data science.

They also learned how a background in environmental science and nutrition are important links in agriculture practices.

For more information about the AFA, visit

The Division of Mathematics and Sciences at Delta State oversees programs in biology, chemistry, environmental sciences, geospatial analysis and mathematics.  Students are provided a solid foundation for successful matriculation and persistence in graduate and/or professional programs and employability skills for success in the workplace. They have the knowledge and the ability to train others to meet and develop the growing science and technology-based needs and innovations that form the core of economic growth.

To learn more about DSU’s Division of Math and Sciences, visit