CSU, Chico

Grace Woodmansee, Animal Science

Grace Woodmansee, Animal Science

Grace Woodmansee

For Star Student in animal science Grace Woodmansee, the choice to attend California State University, Chico was simple. A Chico native with strong family values, Woodmansee was happy to attend CSU, Chico out of high school. As for the decision to study agriculture, Woodmansee initially gained her appreciation of animal science through a 4-H project, which spurred her interests in agriculture up to this day as she studies animal science, sociology, and land resource management.

Woodmansee’s start in agriculture began at age nine when she joined the Shasta 4-H club along with her cousins. Woodmansee said she was eager, but her parents needed some convincing. “Although they weren’t particularly excited about having a lamb in our back yard, they were very supportive and made it work!” she said. Through the years, Woodmansee has served as secretary, vice-president, and president of the club.

Woodmansee studied abroad in New Zealand and Australia for a year beginning in July of 2011, exploring and learning about agriculture there. She studied animal science at Massey University, and she worked on an alpaca ranch and a dairy during school breaks through a program called World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF). Woodmansee enjoyed the exposure to different methods, saying, “It was a great way to meet really interesting people and learn more about international agriculture. I really enjoyed WOOFing because it allowed me to travel while gaining insight into the lives of New Zealand’s agricultural producers.”

She returned home from her time abroad feeling conflicted about her journey at CSU, Chico, and she went to her family to discuss her options.

“Much to my surprise, my parents suggested that I take some time off from school to figure it out. That was one of the best decisions I have ever made,” Woodmansee said. “Although it was scary at the time to not return to school, the work and life experience I had in the year and a half I took off were invaluable. I am now truly confident that I am pursuing the right degree, and I really enjoy learning more about range science and management.”

When she returned to CSU, Chico, Woodmansee jumped in with both feet. She joined Community Action Volunteers in Education (C.A.V.E.) in the spring of 2014. She volunteered in the classroom aide program, then worked toward becoming a group leader for the program which she continues to do today.

Within the College of Agriculture, Woodmansee competes on the Range Management Team under the guidance of animal science professor Kasey DeAtley. In the team’s first competition, they placed second with their case study poster presentation and university display. “It was a great first experience competing, and I am looking forward to participating in more range conferences and events throughout the next year. We are also promoting the involvement of more agriculture students in the range program, and are looking forward to introducing more students to the opportunities and benefits that understanding range management can provide.”

Woodmansee assisted professor Cyndi Daley in planning the Grazing for Change Conference with the Jefferson Center for Holistic Grazing Management. Most recently, Woodmansee has become involved in the Young Cattlemen’s Association, becoming the sponsorship chair for the club’s Beefin’ It Up 5K.

As an animal science student, Woodmansee has had opportunities within the College of Agriculture to conduct research. She assisted in the collection of data on two nutrition projects involving brewer’s grain and the cannulated heifers at the University Farm. The purpose of the trial was to test the viability of brewer’s grain as an alternative feed source for cattle. “I really enjoyed being involved in the research process from start to finish, including assisting with the in-situ procedure, collecting data, lab analysis, statistical analysis, interpreting results and applying those results to current producer needs,” Woodmansee said.

Woodmansee is also assisting professor DeAtley with research on the influence of the Lowline breed on several different growth and carcass traits in steers. Data Woodmansee has collected will be submitted as part of an undergraduate research poster competition at the American Society of Animal Science Western Section Meeting this June in Ruidoso, New Mexico.

Woodmansee says she has found her home in the College of Agriculture because of the vast opportunities and the work of faculty. She recognizes and appreciates the work done for students beyond classroom curriculum. “One of my favorite parts about being involved in research within the College of Agriculture is the emphasis placed on conducting applied research,” she said. “What we do directly benefits producers in some way, and always seeks to solve a current problem. Connecting research to the producer is key.”

Of the classes Woodmansee has taken in her time at CSU, Chico, DeAtley’s agricultural research methods was among her favorites. “The amount of knowledge she has imparted, both inside and outside of class, has been immense,” she said.

Specifically, Woodmansee respects the work and teaching style of professors Kasey DeAtley and Celina Phillips. “Kasey and Celina are two of my favorite professors to work with,” she said. “They have supported me so much during my time at Chico, and opened the door to several opportunities I would have never imagined participating in without their encouragement. It is a privilege to learn from both of them.” Kate Moore, a grad student in animal science, has also influenced Woodmansee during her college career. “Kate is already a talented teacher, and I can only imagine the success she will have as a professor in the future,” Woodmansee said.

DeAtley has had the chance to be part of many different facets of Woodmansee’s college career. “Grace is one of the most outgoing, down-to-earth students in the College of Agriculture,” DeAtley said. “She is always open to learning new material or helping out wherever there is a need. She is an extremely hard worker and has a very bright future ahead.” 

Key influential figures outside of the College of Agriculture have been Woodmansee’s uncle, who introduced her to 4-H and influenced her career in agriculture. Additionally, Nick Bertagna and Matthew Portillo of Butte County 4-H were supporters and advocates who helped Woodmansee along the way.

Looking forward, Woodmansee plans to pursue a master’s degree in range science and management upon completion of her undergraduate degree at CSU, Chico.