Volume 44 - Number 4 - 2003 | DOI: 10.5032/jae.2003.04080
The purpose of this study was to determine college students' awareness of and perceptions toward biotechnology issues reported in the mass media. Agricultural communications students (N = 330) responded from 11 land-grant universities in 10 states; respondents were mostly seniors (46%), female (55%), and considered themselves "B" average students (60%). Respondents were most aware of biotechnology practices affecting their food, but only somewhat aware of their effects on health or the environment. They were somewhat accepting of biotechnology practices for genetically modified organisms involving plant life, but viewed these same practices as somewhat unacceptable for using on humans. Respondents ranked knowledge from science classes, experience in science labs, and university professors' biotechnology beliefs as the top three sources used most often to form their perceptions about biotechnology. Agricultural communications educators are encouraged to seek opportunities that engage students in the learning processes of biotechnology, especially for students who lack an agricultural background. Such opportunities may include establishing student internships; site visits to biotechnology firms, regulatory and communication agencies; and professional interactions with biotechnology scientists.