Forestry PhD candidate named MANRRS national officer

Christian Henry, a Ph.D. candidate in Forestry at Michigan State University (MSU), was elected national graduate student vice president for the 2020-2021 year for Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS).

Portrait photo of Christian Henry
Christian Henry, Forestry PhD candidate

Formerly graduate student parliamentarian for MANNRS, Henry will represent dozens of universities across the country in her new role as graduate student vice president.

 The national organization “is a non-profit promoting academic and professional advancement by empowering minorities in agriculture, natural resources, and related sciences.”

MANRRS aims to guide future leaders in agriculture through connecting and training a diverse group of highly skilled professionals from traditionally underrepresented and underserved groups.

 Henry has been involved with MANRRS since 2014, when she served on chapter executive boards at both Mississippi State University as an undergraduate student and MSU as a graduate student. 

As the Region V and VI graduate student vice president of MANRRS, Henry hopes to engage current members and encourage more Black, Indigenous, and People of Color graduate and undergraduate students to join the organization. She hopes to create collaborations between chapters and increase communication from MSU’s chapter and beyond.

Henry credits MANRRS for allowing her to see, learn from and collaborate with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color at every stage of development. Through this exposure, she has gained confidence in her voice, herself and her vulnerability.

“Being a part of MANRRS means that no matter where I am, I always have family nearby,” said Henry. “The local, regional and national network of scholars afforded to me by MANRRS is insurmountable compared to any other in my academic journey thus far. I have the opportunity to mentor young scientists and scholars while being mentored by influential leaders, specifically, Black women like Dr. Eunice Foster, Dr. Antomia Farrell and Ebony Webber.”

Henry’s studies focus on lignin-based polyurethanes, specifically lignin-based rigid polyurethane foams. Upon graduation she hopes to start a fulltime position within government or industry, though she remains open to learning about her numerous career options. She would like to blend her work and school experience in research, business, agricultural engineering and fundraising.

She would like to continue volunteering with MANRRS as a professional and find a career that encourages this work. 

Henry credits Stephanie Chau and Phillip Seaborn, MSU MANRRS' local chapter advisors, “for their tireless effort, hard work and positivity in all things.”

MANRRS serves BIPOC who have all been affected by recent and forever atrocities against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and remain steadfast in their efforts to promote opportunities that advance and empower minorities in agriculture, natural resources, and related sciences.

In addition to serving as the national graduate student vice president for MANRRS, Henry was recently awarded the Black Faculty, Staff and Administrators Association (BFSAA) Graduate Emerging Leader Award for the 2019-2020 year.

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