"Investments in agriculture are the best weapons against hunger and poverty, they have made life better for billions of people"
I am a first generation, low income graduate student from rural Oregon. I have taken what little I knew about the world and college to work to teach myself how to prosper. This dedication has allowed me to fund my higher education through grants, scholarships, and hard work. My educational journey started at Southwestern Oregon Community College (SOCC), where I consistently achieved the Dean's list and Honor roll. I earned the SOCC Horticulture Grant in spring 2017. In 2018, I was awarded "SOCC Student Club Member of the Year" and "TRIO Most Outstanding Student". I earned my Club Member of the Year award by starting the SOCC Gardening Club were we rehabbed two neglected growing spaces that SOCC already had and turned it into a producing garden that partners with the joining Culinary Institute. I documented the whole process on the Club's Instagram, which quickly received national attention. June 2018, I graduated from Southwestern with two degrees; an Associates of Arts Transfer as well as an Associates of Applied Science. After graduating SOCC, my next educational journey was to tackle a bachelor's degree at Oregon State University (OSU) with a major in Agricultural Science and a minor in Comparative International Agriculture.
My Journey at Oregon State University:
My transition to Oregon State proved to be more difficult than anticipated for many different reasons. However, I am eternally grateful for the opportunities that have been presented to me. My first term I was accepted into the Student Success Service program TRIO and the STEM Leaders program. Through these programs I have been able to make connections to people and resources that helped smooth the transition shock from community college to university. I gained employment with the Urban Ecology and Pollinators research lab in the OSU Horticulture department doing undergraduate research. With them, I was able to help contribute to amazing pollinator research that has the potential to make huge impacts on ecology and agriculture in my home state.
My final year here at Oregon State proved to be a very fruitful and Interesting time for me. I became a Mentor for the STEM Leader's program where I get to help 3 other students that were in my same shoes last year. I was nominated for a spot in the non credit course called Presidential Student Legislative Advocacy. There, I became more familiar with policy and legislation. I had the opportunity to advocate for Oregon State and it's students like me at the Oregon State Capitol. Through this program I was connected with the Coast to Forest mental health initiative. They work to help fight mental health issues and drug abuse in 4 rural Oregon counties, including my hometown of Baker County. I gave an invited personal testimony at the Oregon State Capitol to the Sennett Committee on Mental health. This helped launch me into an internship position at the Capitol as an intern for the 2020 short session in Representative Caddy Mckeown's office.
At the start of my senior year, I worked hard to apply for an amazing internship in Costa Rica with the Monteverde Insistent. After the extensive application process, I was accepted and was planning on leaving for Costa Rica March 25, 2020. I am a person who is driven by my passions, and I am extremely passionate about the work I was going to be doing in Monteverde. I was to work with farmers to design sustainable farms, education school children on nutrition, and build a pollinator garden at the local school to educate the kids on pollinators. However, all the planning and passion in the world couldn't prevent the Global Pandemic brought on by Covid-19. My internship in Costa Rica was cancelled by Oregon State March 13, 2020.
When the pandemic hit and turned my plans on their head, I struggled with homelessness while finishing my final 12 credits at Oregon State online during a global pandemic. I ended my spring term on the Dean's List and earned my bachelors degree from Oregon State University with a major in Agricultural Science and a minor in Comparative International Agriculture. While commencement was cancelled due the pandemic, I still am extremely proud of the accomplishments I have earned in the face of adversity.
Upon completing my degree at OSU, I began a seasonal position with the United States Forest Service as a Survey Technician. This job was extremely physically demanding but entirely worth it. My job over the summer included hiking for miles along national forest boundary line with no trails and extreme conditions. I routinely carried 20 lbs or more of everyday gear and occasional packed in over 50 lbs of gear 3+ miles. After years of testing myself mentally, it was very rewarding to test myself physically in the mountains of my home state.
Now, I am setting my sights on a long term professional position in sustainable agriculture to put my degree to work!
Hobbies are necessary for stress relief and personal growth. I have many hobbies that I love and am passionate about. It is my goal to incorporate each these passions and hobbies into my education, research, and ultimately my career. I love to garden. Because of this passion, I started the gardening club at South Western Oregon Community College. At Oregon State, I joined the Organic Grower's Club. I take any oppoutunty I can to see farms and lend a hand from harvesting blueberries to helping an older lady with her garden. Creating beautiful things, like a garden, is my passion. I love creating art of all kinds. I create functional ceramic pottery, paint, draw, and make jewelry. My creative skills have allowed me to prosper in school and science. With these learned skills, I want to help preserve the natural beauty of the world. I love to take my dog on hikes, go camping, and being in nature in general. I think that we owe it to the planet that takes care of us, to try and take care of it back. I believe by drawing on my passions, interests, and hobbies I can care for the planet through the Agricultural Sciences.