CSU, Chico

Amie French, Agriculture Business

Amie French, Agriculture Business

 Amie French

California State University, Chico’s 2014 Star Student in Agricultural Business exemplifies the type of student the College of Agriculture aims to generate through its programs. After being at CSU, Chico for only two years as a transfer student, Amie French will undoubtedly leave behind big shoes to fill within the agricultural business major after graduating this May. Her active involvement within the college, impressive academic achievements, and overall positive reputation as a peer, student, and friend are among the many qualifications earning French recognition as the 2014 Star Student in Agricultural Business.

Finishing the last semester of her undergraduate career, French is currently serving as the president of the professional agriculture sorority Sigma Alpha, and in the fall semester she served as the sorority’s vice president. “When transferring to CSU, Chico, I wasn’t sure what I would have in store for me,” French said. “The only thing I knew and have always wanted to be a part of was being a sister of Sigma Alpha. The Sigma Alpha sisterhood has provided me with so many opportunities for friendship, community service, and leadership. These past two years have created some of the best memories that I will carry with me for a lifetime.” 

During her tenure as Sigma Alpha president, the group has reached out to the community and taken on more service projects. This semester alone, the sisterhood has volunteered at the Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Sanctuary, worked at community food banks, and participated in walks for various causes such as breast cancer and Alzheimer’s awareness. She also has helped involve the sorority’s members in agriculture literacy events such as the College of Agriculture’s elementary school Ag Education Day and the Farm City Celebration at the annual Harvest Festival at Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park. Under French’s leadership, the club saw a 48.5 percent increase in membership for the spring semester. 

But her involvement in the College of Agriculture doesn’t stop there. French is also a member of the coed professional fraternity Alpha Zeta. Students are invited to join the club based on a minimum GPA requirement of a 3.0. Coming to CSU, Chico with a strong poultry background from high school and Modesto Junior College, French served as the 2014 CSU, Chico and Butte College Field Day Poultry Judging Contest chair. She organized 12 different classes of poultry that included live poultry, ready-to-cook poultry, shell eggs, and further processed poultry, and facilitated an exam on poultry management and production. High school FFA members evaluated the classes and then were scored on the accuracy of their placing of those classes. As part of her position with Sigma Alpha, French also serves as the Inter Club Council representative. Here she meets with representatives from other clubs to organize College of Agriculture events, give club updates, and discuss student issue topics.

French has represented the College of Agriculture in numerous competitions as well. In October, she traveled to Chicago to compete in the Food Distribution Research Society’s Food Marketing Challenge where she and a team of five applied their knowledge of food distribution, economics, management, marketing, and merchandising to a real world situation. French and the team played the role of consultants competing for a mystery company account and made their bid to a real company executive.  After two days of competing, the team received third place overall. In August, she traveled to the Agriculture and Applied Economics Association’s (AAEA) Academic Quiz Bowl competition in Washington, D.C. It was through mingling and networking at the AAEA competition that French made her decision to pursue a master’s degree in agricultural economics.

Being involved in agriculture programs and pursuing the various opportunities they provide isn’t new for French. She transferred to CSU, Chico in the fall of 2012 from Modesto Junior College, where she was one of 28 selected students that served as West Campus student interns for the agriculture department.  French was one of three students who worked at the school farm’s fully functional poultry unit that consists of 2,000 conventional laying hens, 500 free-range laying hens, a hatchery, pheasant and quail game birds, and a state-certified poultry processing unit. She and the other poultry interns fed the birds, cleaned the hen houses, sold eggs at local markets, and collected as many as 2,000 eggs a day. French and all other interns were expected to work a minimum of 12 hours a week, be present and assist at all agriculture department events, and enroll in a minimum of 16 units each semester in exchange for housing in one of the seven on-site houses. Outside of her internship, French was the college’s Young Farmers Club secretary and Inter Club Council (ICC) representative, for which she represented the agriculture department at campus-wide club meetings.

In addition, French has worked on research projects with CSU, Chico College of Agriculture professors.  With Dr. Eric Houk, she helped analyze the local pecan market and looked at the demographics of consumer preference among local and state markets. Houk has been impressed by French’s work and believes she will continue to be successful after graduation. “Amie has done an outstanding job in each of my courses and has been at the very top of her class,” said Houk.  “She has consistently shown that she is committed to learning and that she is devoted to achieving her educational goals.  She demonstrates a genuine interest in agricultural business/economics and is overall a model student.”

Perhaps one of her best-kept secrets and humbly hidden accomplishments is that French’s dedication to her school work has allowed her to have the entirety of her education paid for through scholarships and grants. Through perseverance and devotion to her school work, French has maintained a 4.0 GPA through high school, junior college, and her time at CSU, Chico. Her academic accomplishments, extracurricular involvement, and passion of the agriculture industry has paid off. For the past few weeks of the spring semester, French as been making big decisions on what her next step after graduation will be. She had the option of choosing between three full-ride offers from Kansas State University, Colorado State University, and Purdue University. After dinners, campus visits, and weighing her options, French accepted an assistantship at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, to pursue an agricultural economics master’s degree with a thesis option. There she will spend two years helping conduct research with her professors and completing her classes. After earning her master’s, French hopes to continue on to pursue a PhD.