CSU, Chico

Joanna Bloese, Crops, Horticulture, and Land Resource Management

Joanna Bloese, Crops, Horticulture, and Land Resource Management

Joanna BloeseThe 2012 Star Student in Crops, Horticulture, and Land Resource Management is a long way from her home state of Michigan, but she finds everything she could have hoped for at California State University, Chico. Opportunities for research, a plant science program, a campus that is near the outdoors, an Italian program, and a great art community fit the well-rounded junior Joanna Bloese.

Growing up in Williamston, Mich., Bloese was always outside, either in her dad’s garden or in the backyard. In high school one of her best memories was in a biology class where she made her own insect collection with 100 insects. She decided to follow her interest in insects and entomology and work in the entomology department at Michigan State University with Professor Debora McCullough. There she helped out with field and lab research in Emerald Ash Borer, a pest of ash trees in the Midwest.

After much persuasion, Bloese convinced her parents she could come to California. She immediately made connections with Professor Bruce Hicks from Butte College.  As soon as she transferred to Chico State, she was welcomed by the plant science faculty. “From working with Bruce, Dr. (Betsy) Boyd, and Dr. (Rich) Rosecrance, I feel like I really connect with the plant science community,” Bloese said.

When she started at Chico State she had to make the decision to major either in biology or plant science and chose plant science because she saw more career opportunities. Bloese was hesitant about the College of Agriculture because she felt she didn’t have the background, but it wasn’t long after she was welcomed that she saw even more potential in pursuing a career in the agriculture industry. “It was so eye opening after taking a few agriculture classes to learn how practical the agriculture sciences can be,” Bloese said. “Agriculture research is so applied and has immediate effects and changes.”

Bloese has been involved with a number of organizations and has a growing résumé of accomplishments in research. She recently attended the Entomological Society of America 2012 Pacific Branch Meeting, held in Portland, Ore. on March 23-28, where she attended workshops, presented her research project, and had the opportunity to network with people in the industry. “There were a lot of good presentations and information on many of the issues present on the West Coast,” Bloese said. She also felt very privileged to be the only undergraduate to attend the conference as well as be the sole undergraduate presenter.

At Chico State on March 6, Bloese competed in the Chico State Research Competition. She presented her Navel Orangeworm trapping research and was a top 10 finalist. She now is qualified to go to Long Beach, where she will compete in the prestigious system-wide competition on May 5.

Next spring Bloese plans to study abroad in Italy, where she will study international agriculture development.  Among her many plans, volunteering for the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF ) is one. WWOOF is a world-wide network of organizations that allow people who are interested in a sustainable way of living to volunteer. In return for volunteering Bloese can receive accommodations, food, and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles.

Not only does Bloese have an Italian minor, but she also has a Studio Art minor. Art has always been a passion of hers. She takes a particular interest in blown glass. “Where better to study art than Chico State, which has a strong art community?” When she needs to get her mind off of school she goes to the art studio located near Taylor Hall, where she works on blown glass projects.  

Bloese has also taken advantage of many outdoor opportunities Chico has to offer. She has been involved with CSU, Chico student-led organization Adventure Outings as an outing trip leader for two and a half years. This is the perfect volunteer position for Bloese, where she can guide students and people within the community on kayak trips, rock climbing, backpacking, and much more. She is also the 2012 co-president of the Chico State Row Team, together with fellow ag major and Star Student Liz Hurd.

After she returns from Italy and graduates from CSU, Chico, Bloese would like to continue on to graduate school at either Cornell University or Virginia State University. Her plans after graduate school are to pursue a career in international agriculture development.