I like to experience new places and food. I'm a farmer's market enthusiast. I love watching cartoons. I'm passionate about local food systems, food insecurities, and how that affects people in society. I like to challenge myself and I enjoy learning in the classroom as well as from experiences and people.
My horticulture science major aligned with my interest in growing my own food and sharing that with others. I was highly influenced by my family and my high school agriculture teacher Ms. Moyer. It is important to provide sustainable and equitable ways for people to access food and ensure inequities do not exist. Creating sustainable local food production is increasingly important in the present and for the near future in light of food deserts, social inequities and healthcare accessibility. Society should know the importance of healthy foods and how to grow, preserve and sustain foods to cultivate for themselves and others.
I have had various internships, the USDA-ARS Horticultural Crop Research Unit and Oregon State University Wheat Breeding and Genetics Program where I've worked with both blueberries and wheat crops, and expanded my skills in plot research, greenhouse operations, laboratory work, genetic analysis, data collection, and sample analysis. With those opportunities I made lasting connections with my team and mentors all while traveling around the Pacific Northwest. Hands-on experience helped me apply what I learned in class and it was rewarding and valuable seeing how work in a lab translated to the production field. Additionally, facing challenges not accounted for was never boring.
While interning I encountered something new every day and found projects and results do not always go to plan. However, it was fun finding out that, while everyone involved, from the student workers to the researchers, were so different, we all had similar interests and passions.
I expressed interest gaining hands-on experiences and had multiple opportunities outside the classroom through the College of Agricultural Sciences: I became a CAS Leadership Academy Fellow, had multiple internships, and engaged in public speaking. Working with my connections on campus—both my Academic Advisor and Club Advisors—we evaluated what worked best for me. These experiences were vastly important because they kept me engaged in school, taught me conflict management techniques and afforded me chances to work with a variety of people; even act as a liaison paving the way for other female minorities.
In the next five years, I hope to have completed a graduate degree and be working towards equitable US food sources for underserved communities in any capacity, whether within the government, private sector or as a business owner. The College of Agricultural Sciences has provided me experiences and opportunities to cultivate my passions. In addition, CAS ensured I found what I liked and didn't like which led me to pursue leadership and learning opportunities within, and adjacent to, agriculture.
Challenges to continuing my education ranged from the financial to the academic, and to the emotional. The hardest part, though, was finishing. I was able to overcome these challenges due to a lot of support from family and those people in the institution who wanted me to stay in college and persevere.
Where I grew up was not culturally diverse in terms of people, backgrounds or socioeconomics. This was a big influence in my perspective and expectations about people. Moving to Oregon for college, east to west coast for me, changed my perspective, because each campus community I engaged in taught me how to engage differently, learn about and appreciate other backgrounds.
Incoming students should stay engaged and active on campus. Don't be complacent. Actively push yourself without overreaching but don't let anyone tell you your limits. Be kind to yourself. Be conscious of burnout and test your boundaries without overdoing it. Lastly, always be present and want more for yourself.