Ag student receives Justin Smith Morrill Scholarship

By Joan Kite

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Alexius Dingle, an agriculture science major expecting to graduate in May, can rest a little easier after completing all those applications for grad school.

Her application fees are covered through her own efforts and a generous scholarship.

Awarded the prestigious Justin Smith Morrill Scholarship, she now has $2,500 to defray the cost of application fees.

“My ultimate goal is to get a Ph.D. in microbiology,” Dingle said. “I want to spend my career researching how we can use microorganisms to make our lives easier.”

The Justin Smith Morrill Scholarship is presented by the 1890 Land-Grant Universities Foundation to 19 graduating seniors — one at each of the 1890 member universities.

The scholarship was established to commemorate Justin Smith Morrill, a Vermont politician who advocated dedicating public lands to create higher education institutions that taught agriculture and other subjects to all. In 1862, President Abe Lincoln signed the Morrill Land Grant Act, a law that ultimately funded 105 institutions, and later on established colleges dedicated to educating African Americans.

Dingle is emblematic of that vital heritage.

She is a USDA/ 1890 National Scholar, a Tennessee State University Dean’s Scholar, and has been on the President’s List for the past three years.

Sustaining a 4.0 GPA, Dingle has also been able to serve as President of the Alpha Chi Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Freshman/Sophomore Class Representative of the Tennessee State University Honors College. She is a member of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS), the Hip’Notyze Dance Troupe, and the African Student Association.

She has taken first place two years in a row in the TSU Research Symposium for Undergraduate Science.

During the past three summers, she has interned at the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in Riverdale, Maryland, where she assisted in implementing regulations for genetically engineered organisms, and at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, where she sought to quantify mixotrophic behavior in dinoflagellates (algaes) indigenous to the Chesapeake Bay.

Dingle anticipates hearing in late winter or early spring from one of the four graduate schools for which she has applied.

A doctorate is on her goals’ list.

Is teaching at a university in her future?

“I’ve thought about becoming a professor,” she said.

Note: In the featured photo, College of Agriculture Dean Chandra Reddy presents Alexius Dingle with the scholarship check (Photo by Joan Kite).

Department of Media Relations

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