The Georgia Crop Production Alliance (GCPA) awarded a Fort Valley State University student a $1,000 scholarship to help further his education in pursuing a career toward improving crop production.
Cleveland Ivey, a senior plant science major with a concentration in biotechnology, said it is an honor to be one of four scholarship recipients in the state of Georgia.
“I was thunderstruck,” Ivey said, smiling. “I immediately had to give thanks to the Lord. It is truly a blessing, and I am very grateful to receive such an awesome scholarship.”
GCPA will present a check to each scholarship recipient at its annual meeting awards luncheon on Nov. 2 in Cordele. Due to a prior commitment to attend the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in Phoenix, Arizona, Ivey said his parents are accepting the award on his behalf. He plans to save the check and put it toward his education in entomology.
Hailing from the small rural town of Coolidge, 21-year-old Ivey said although he was not expecting to receive the scholarship, the application process came easily when writing about his passion for insects. “I was really able to go in depth and explain how crop protection, as well as crop production, is extremely important,” he said.
Strong in his faith, Ivey said the scholarship is not his award alone. “It was the Lord, and I also have an excellent support system. It takes a village,” he said, commending his family and FVSU professors. He also acknowledged the positive impact of his mentor, Dr. George Mbata, FVSU’s biology chair and entomology professor.
During Ivey’s first semester, he showed an interest in posters displaying Mbata’s past research. “He was then enrolled in Principles of Biology, and I encouraged him to enroll in my section of Principles of Biology II the following semester,” Mbata said.
In 2014, Mbata offered Ivey the opportunity to join his research team as a student assistant.
“Cleveland has been working with me every semester and summer since then. He has presented at multiple conferences and meetings. He exhibits a deep passion for entomology, more specifically integrated pest management (IPM),” Mbata said, noting multiple institutions are interested in Ivey attending their school for graduate programs in entomology and biosecurity.
Proud to represent FVSU, Ivey said he believes in giving his all to the best of his abilities. His accomplishments include being an honor student, a National Role Model Award recipient by Minority Access Inc., a trombone player for the FVSU Jazz Band, president of the Beta Kappa Chi (BKX) honor’s society and serving as a volunteer researcher at the Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory in Byron since 2016. In addition, he earned first place in the undergraduate poster presentation category for his work on the use of entomopathogens for the control of the maize weevil at the Southeastern Branch Entomological Society of America (SEB-ESA) annual meeting.
Ivey is scheduled to graduate in spring 2018. After graduation, he plans to pursue a master’s degree and a doctorate in entomology. He wants to study how to protect crops from pests without using chemicals. Ivey encourages other FVSU students to apply for the GCPA Scholarship.
GCPA is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to improving the efficiency and profitability of crop production. The group established the GCPA Scholarship to award undergraduate students enrolled in an agricultural-related discipline at an institution of higher education in Georgia, including, but not limited to, FVSU, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and the University of Georgia. Students must be pursuing a degree, or program of interest, directly related to issues that affect crop production.
For more information about the GCPA Scholarship, visit http://bit.ly/2zdgHSL.