BATON ROUGE, LA (BRPROUD) – As we continue celebrating Black History Month, history is being made right here in the Capital City. A Southern University professor was recently named one of 1,000 inspiring black scientists in America.

She spends her days covered in dirt, her hands wrist deep in the ground as she studies plant and soil science on the bluff.

“I’m coming to my first year here at Southern University, so I’m looking forward to a long and fruitful career here at Southern University.”

Dr. LaShunda Hodges is a professor at Southern University’s Agricultural College. She’s also a scientist studying drone research.

“I want to know how we can use precision ag technology to make our crops more profitable, to promote environmental and soil health simultaneously to make sure that soil is going to be here to feed the next generation,” Hodges said.

Her work is now being recognized on a national scale. She was recently named one of 1,000 inspiring black scientists in America.

“I am completely humbled to find out that my colleagues across the nation thought of me,” said Hodges.

The list was created to show how many black scientists there are in the science community and inspire others to join their ranks.

“There are a lot of African Americans that are making tremendous strides in their work. They’re doing awesome scientific work,” said Hodges.

It’s a passion she hopes to plant in the minds of her students.

“I’m hoping that list will inspire the next generation to see that they can do it because we did it. We look forward to mentoring students here in the Baton Rouge area, Baton Rouge and beyond because like I said, we have to be ready for the next generation to come along and continue our work,” said Hodges.

As her impact grows, she’s cultivating a flourishing field for the many black and female scientists to come.

“I’m hoping to inspire the next little girl that says you know what, I want to play outside in dirt everyday just like you. I want to do that. I want to learn how plants grow and how I can help my community while doing this research.”