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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Karli Moore, a master’s degree student in agricultural economics in the U of A’s Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, won the national Impromptu Public Speaking contest at the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences annual meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Moore, a Native American member of the Lumbee Tribe from Red Springs, North Carolina, is in her first year at the U of A and topped seven other finalists for the MANRRS title.

Karli Moore, center with award, and the U of A contingent at the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences annual meeting, including Bumpers College dean Deacue Fields III (left), and agricultural economics and agribusiness associate professor and graduate program coordinator Daniel Rainey (second from left).

Contestants drew a topic out of a hat, and had 20 minutes to use the internet or any other source to prepare a two- to four-minute speech. Each speech was followed by a three-minute Q&A with the judges. Topics could be anything related to agriculture.

Moore drew “Several medicinal based plants have been documented to improve human health. Choose one and explain the current understood benefits and general response to plants as medicine.”

“I freaked out when I got medicinal plants,” said Moore. “I thought ‘what am I going to say?'” My previous topic (in regionals) was GMO labeling. We talk about that all the time in class so I was a little more comfortable. One thing that helped was I knew how I wanted to structure my comments. Before I drew a topic, I drew up an outline. Having the outline helped me during the research time because I could just find information to fill the categories.”

Moore’s winning presentation was on the recent influenza epidemic, and she introduced elderberry as a possible medicinal plant.

“Indigenous peoples across the U.S. and around the world have always relied on medicinal plants,” said Moore. “We should pay more attention to that and invest in that.”

Moore qualified for finals by winning the regional competition in Oklahoma City, which included participants from Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. The U of A Chapter of MANRRS was one of the groups competing, and Moore topped eight others in the impromptu category to earn a spot at the national meeting.

“The MANRRS conference was an excellent opportunity,” said Moore. “There was time for networking with professionals in industry, academia and the community. I’m planning to pursue a Ph.D. (in agricultural economics) so it was wonderful have deans and all the major players in the industry there to talk to.”

MANRRS promotes academic and professional advancement by empowering minorities in agriculture, natural resources and related sciences.

About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences: Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

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