Fort Valley State student selected as USDA/1890 National Scholar

Published By: Latasha Ford December 18, 2023

Jalil Jones, a freshman agricultural engineering major at Fort Valley State University, is a 2023 U.S. Department of Agriculture/1890 National Scholar.

Students seeking higher education could benefit from scholarships to help overcome any financial barriers to focus on their learning, college experience and career aspirations.

Jalil Jones, a Fort Valley State University (FVSU) freshman, is one among 103 students selected nationwide for the 2023 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)/1890 National Scholars Program.

The USDA partners with 1890 Land-grant Universities to provide scholarship recipients with full tuition, fees, books, and room and board. The scholarship also includes work experience through USDA summer internships. USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement manages the 1890 National Scholars Program. It is aimed at increasing the number of students from rural and underserved communities, who attend one of the 19 1890 Land-grant Universities and pursue degrees in agriculture, food, natural resource sciences or related academic disciplines.

The USDA/1890 National Scholars Program has awarded many FVSU students, who have applied over the years. Currently, there are 12 scholars at FVSU being sponsored by five USDA agencies and nine states.

Fort Valley State University’s U.S. Department of Agriculture/1890 National Scholars shown with Karla Hollis, USDA liaison.

Jones is grateful to receive funds to go toward his education. “Being able to maintain a scholarship is something I am prepared to do,” he affirmed.

Once interested in building rockets, the 18-year-old Wildcat is studying agricultural engineering. He aspires to use his artistic abilities to design and build machinery as an agricultural engineer for the USDA.

“I want to create something from what I have learned from school and work experiences,” Jones said.

The Oakland, California, native will intern for the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (his sponsoring agency) in the summer of 2024 in Arizona. An FVSU alumnus selected him for this opportunity. Putting in the work, Jones is looking forward to the experience.

He said his time on FVSU’s campus as a freshman has been welcoming. He knew that he wanted to attend a historically Black university when considering his options. His parents are Tuskegee University graduates. They exposed him to various colleges by taking him to a college fair in Oakland while in high school. This is where he learned about FVSU and the USDA/1890 National Scholars Program.

“I know that I must do certain things to progress in life,” Jones said about the choices he has made.

His advice to students interested in attending FVSU and applying to the USDA/1890 National Scholars Program is: “If you want to work toward something, you should not give up on it because you may miss opportunities you don’t take.”

The agricultural engineering major strongly suggests that students also give themselves more grace. “Take a moment to appreciate the things you have accomplished,” he said.

USDA awarded more than 100 1890 scholarships in Fiscal Year 2023. The 2024 application cycle opened in December 2023. For more information, visit or contact Karla Hollis, USDA liaison, at