CSU, Chico

Nick Pinkerton, Plant Science

Nick Pinkerton, Plant Science

Nick Pinkerton

After taking botany and crops classes at Shasta College, Nick Pinkerton fell in love with production agriculture. Pinkerton, the 2011 Star Student in Crops, Horticulture and Land Resource Management, transferred to California State University, Chico after hearing from peers about the outstanding agriculture program and the coursework he could take that directly related to production agriculture.

Pinkerton knew CSU, Chico was the perfect fit for him and was reassured when he attended classes.

“The professors in the College of Agriculture are motivated and take a personal interest in their students,” Pinkerton said.

Since starting classes at CSU, Chico, Pinkerton has been active in the in the Crop Science and Horticulture Club and Community Action Volunteers in Education (CAVE) ), holds down a full-time job as a server at The Olive Garden, and participated in a summer internship with Monsanto in 2010.

The Crop Science and Horticulture Club is an organization for students with the same interests and majors to meet and network with each other. The club participates in events on campus and at the University Farm.

CAVE is a student-run program based on volunteering in the community. Pinkerton has volunteered his time and labor, removing invasive species from Bidwell Park and replanting native species. On Earth Day he lead a crew of volunteers to the park to further remove invasive species and continue his work protecting the native species of Bidwell Park.

Pinkerton spent his 2010 summer break as an intern with Monsanto in a traditional corn breeding program. During his 10-week internship he evaluated and set up breeding plots, recorded symptoms of water stress on plants, managed field workers, and managed seed inventory.

“I became familiar and more knowledgeable in breeding techniques and the desirable characteristics of corn to farmers,” Pinkerton said of the experience.

Not growing up in production agriculture, Pinkerton wanted an internship where he could gain experience and feel more confident after graduation as he entered a job in the field. Hearing the Monsanto name, Pinkerton knew that the internship would provide an opportunity to gain hands-on experience.

“The people of Monsanto work to create a relaxed and positive learning environment for the interns, which helped me build confidence and skills,” Pinkerton said.

In an internship review after completion, Pinkerton’s supervisor commented that he was one of the best interns they had ever worked with.

Although they are not involved in production agriculture, Pinkerton’s family has a large garden where they grow tomatoes, pumpkins, corn, artichokes, and watermelon, as well as several fruit trees. He grew up in Fortuna, Calif. where he had the opportunity to work for Clendenen’s Cider Works during high school.

Pinkerton is keeping his options open for a career direction after graduation in May 2011. He is interested in breeding plants and using his experience at Monsanto, but is also interested in pest control and viticulture.