Earth Sciences Graduate Aims to Improve Sustainable Agriculture in Home Country

Posted December 06, 2021, 9:51AM
Kenmina Devine, M.S. Earth Sciences, '21

Studying the earth and solving environmental issues has always been a dream for North Carolina Central University (NCCU) graduate student Kenmina Devine.

A native of Liberia in West Africa, Devine began her academic journey at Durham Technical Community College and transferred to NCCU’s undergraduate program in environmental sciences, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2020.

After her family's agricultural investment was washed away due to uncharacteristic rainfall, Devine was driven to continue her studies through NCCU’s accelerated graduate program in earth sciences through the Department of Environmental, Earth and Geospatial Sciences. Her family’s misfortune fueled her graduate research, which sheds light on unique rainfall patterns across her home country of Liberia and how climate change has ushered in an era of extreme rainfall variability in parts of the country.

“My project will build resiliency in Liberian agricultural by helping the country adapt to novel challenges posed by a changing climate,” said Devine.

In addition to the support of her mom, she is grateful to the faculty in the Department of Environmental, Earth and Geospatial Sciences, including her advisor, assistant professor Christopher Zarzar, Ph.D., department chair Gordana Vlahovic, Ph.D., and associate professor Rakesh Malhotra, Ph.D., for their unwavering support and opportunity to study her passion on scholarship.

“I found a whole new family at NCCU who was not only concerned about my academic success but my mental health,” said Devine, who experienced past financial struggles and the loss of her father during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“NCCU is the place to be; don’t ever second guess your decision or wish to attend this institution,” she added.

Devine plans to continue her research at NC State University’s doctoral program in Forestry and Environmental Resources and return to Liberia to aid her home country in creating sustainable agriculture.


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