CSU, Chico

Shelby West, Agriculture Education

Shelby West, Agriculture Education

Shelby West

Shelby West, the 2011 star student in agriculture education, can often be found buzzing around the California State University, Chico campus or the University Farm planning, coordinating, or researching something. It seems she’s involved in nearly every event and activity offered through the College of Agriculture.

West first came to CSU, Chico to visit friend and College of Agriculture graduate Clarissa Rowley. She instantly loved the relaxed atmosphere of the college town and knew it was the right place for her. “I liked the change of pace from the hustle and bustle of a city like my hometown, Turlock,” said West.

Since West transferred from Merced Junior College, she has yet to slow down. She keeps herself busy with classes and various leadership and management roles on and off campus.

West serves as the treasurer for Alpha Tau Alpha, the national agriculture education honors society. As treasurer, she manages the organization’s bank account, collects members’ dues, and purchases meeting materials and other supplies. Of her leadership role in the organization West said, “I enjoy having a part in facilitating meetings that will help young future agriculture teachers grow.”

In coordination with ATA, West volunteers her time for various Future Farmers of America contests. West helps with planning and implementing leadership conferences for high school FFA programs, judges parliamentary procedure contests, and helps in conducting the regional and state officer trainings hosted by the College of Agriculture.

West serves as the co-chair for both the regional and invitational parliamentary procedure contests hosted by CSU, Chico. West plans, coordinates, and implements the contests, along with co-chair Daniel Fishman. The team organizes the set up and registration, creates the motions for the contests, and organizes the awards. West said, “I enjoy having the opportunity to interact with high school students and serve as a role model for them.”

What West may be best known for in the College of Agriculture is her work at the CSU, Chico Sheep and Goat Unit. As the herd health coordinator, she facilitates vaccinations and treatments of the sheep and goats and evaluates the health of the animals, along with carrying out daily management duties like lambing and kidding, pasture management, reproduction, and selection of bucks and replacements.

Through working at the Sheep and Goat Unit, West has the opportunity to conduct research on her favorite livestock species: goats. Among her research interests are herd management, vaccination efficiency, and genetic traits that promote more efficient culling procedures.

Recognizing West’s interest in meat goats, Celina Johnson, assistant professor of animal science, presented West with the opportunity to plan and organize a goat artificial insemination (AI) certification clinic. “I jumped on the opportunity to plan the AI clinic,” said West. Besides planning the clinic, West also synchronized the goats used for the certification program.

Even with all West does at the Sheep and Goat Unit and on campus, she still finds time to volunteer for local goat producers Wes and Jane Patton, helping them show and prepare goats for sale. She also helps out with vaccination and dehorning.

After graduation, West plans to enter the agriculture education credential program at CSU, Chico. She wants to be an agriculture teacher in an inner-city area so she can reach out to students who have no access to or experience in agriculture and get them involved in the industry. “I didn’t come from an agriculture background,” said West. “I got involved with FFA in high school, which gave me experience and passion for agriculture, and I want to reach out to give the same experience to other kids like me.” West hopes to one day create a program that will inspire kids with no agriculture background to become involved in the industry.