September 27, 2023

Contact: Trey Barrett

Portrait of Patricia Marie Cordero-Irizarry
Patricia Marie Cordero-Irizarry (Photo submitted)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A Mississippi State doctoral student is being recognized for excellence in training tomorrow’s agricultural leaders.

Patricia Marie Cordero-Irizarry, an agricultural and extension education doctoral student in MSU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and its School of Human Sciences, is the university’s second recipient of the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Graduate Student Teaching Award. The honor was recently presented at the NACTA conference is Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Founded in 1955, NACTA is a professional society that specializes in the scholarship of teaching and learning for agriculture and related disciplines at the postsecondary level. NACTA established the award in 1996 to recognize graduate student members who go above and beyond as instructors in agricultural classroom settings.

Carley Morrison, an MSU assistant professor of agricultural education, leadership and communication, first collaborated with Cordero-Irizarry on scholarship of teaching and learning research during the 2022 winter term and asked her to teach a Professional Presentations in Agriculture and Life Sciences course this past spring.

“Ms. Cordero-Irizarry is a natural teacher who sets high expectations but also caters to the individual needs of her students,” Morrison said. “She is a gifted teacher—energetic, dedicated and open to constructive feedback on improving her teaching and learning experiences.”

The presentations course is designed to provide students in agricultural-related fields with professional communication skills. Cordero-Irizarry said teaching this subject also has helped her develop skills that will benefit her as she advocates for soil conservation.

“It feels good to receive the award because I enjoy teaching and have found my vocation through this Ph.D. program, and this is something that motivates me each morning,” Cordero-Irizarry said. “I am also thankful for Dr. Morrison, who is an excellent mentor; Dr. Donna Peterson for giving me an opportunity to teach; my students for providing feedback I can use to improve my teaching, and my family because they have been constantly supporting me in my journey.”

To learn more about NACTA, visit

The School of Human Sciences in MSU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences offers undergraduate degrees in agricultural education, leadership, and communications; agricultural science; fashion design and merchandising; and human development and family science. Graduate degrees include agricultural and extension education, early intervention, fashion design and merchandising, and human development and family science. For more, visit

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