CSU, Chico

Haylee Fonseca, Agriculture Education

Haylee Fonseca, Agriculture Education


From serving as president of the California State University, Chico Collegiate Future Farmers of America (FFA), to coordinating the contest at the 2016 CSU, Chico/Butte College FFA Field Day, all while being a full-time student, some wonder how Haylee Fonseca has time to get that recommended eight hours of sleep a day.

The 2016 Star Student in Agricultural Education, Fonseca has always been active in youth organizations. At a young age, Fonseca began as a “Daisy” in the Girl Scouts with her mom as the leader throughout her years of service. After experiencing the Girl Scouts, Fonseca joined 4-H in the sixth grade, where she started to gain a passion for livestock as well as agriculture.

Her passion for agriculture only strengthened when she entered Pioneer High School in her home town of Woodland. Her freshman agriculture teacher, Holly Whitworth, would become one of her biggest inspirations and mentors throughout high school. Whitworth’s husband, Donnie, an agriculture mechanics instructor at Winters High School, also inspired Fonseca and helped her realize her love for agriculture mechanics. While at Pioneer High School, Fonseca served in various chapter FFA offices, including reporter and vice president, and she received both her State and American FFA degrees.

While at Woodland Community College, Fonseca was mentored by agriculture counselor and advisor Brandi Asmus and welding instructor Jim Rumsey. Asmus and Rumsey helped focus Fonseca toward her career path in teaching and agricultural mechanics. Fonseca graduated from Woodland Community College with her Associate of Science degree in math and natural science in May 2014.

Shortly after arriving at CSU, Chico, Fonseca acquired a number of new mentors in the ag education faculty. Professor Brad Dodson, in particular, provided exceptional support and encouragement during her two years on campus.

“Dr. Dodson has pushed me to be better at every moment that I have doubted myself, and I am eternally grateful for that,” Fonseca said.

Fonseca’s love for agricultural mechanics is reflected in her class preferences.

 “My favorite class has been my small projects class with lecturer John Pitter. I am learning by doing, and every moment is a learning experience that I can bring into my own classrooms in the future.”

After graduating this spring, Fonseca plans to enter the credential program at CSU, Chico. After completing her year as a student teacher, Fonseca would like to begin teaching as a full time high school agriculture instructor specializing in agriculture mechanics. She also hopes to purchase property where she can raise cattle and provide space for her students to raise their county fair livestock projects. She would like to provide the opportunity for students to have the full FFA experience.

Over the years, Fonseca has received various scholarships, including two from CSU, Chico College of Agriculture. She has worked as an intern for three separate companies and organizations, including the California Foundation for Ag in the Classroom, where she served as a traveling teacher, and with DuPoint Pioneer as a research assistant with sunflowers, and for The Farmer Veteran Coalition as a Homegrown by Heroes intern. 

Her advice for incoming freshmen is to not be afraid to go after what they want.

“College is the time where you decide who you want to be. Not only do you decide a major or what profession you want to be in, but also the kind of person you want to be as well as the characteristics you possess.”

Fonseca urges students to find something that they are passionate about and let it drive them.

She says that during her time in the College of Agriculture, she has always felt welcomed by the students, staff, and faculty.

“The College of Agriculture family is loud, passionate, and always inviting. I know I can walk through the hallways of Plumas Hall and see numerous friends and classmates. There is always a friendly face to greet you, and the College of Agriculture will always be a welcoming place.”

Some of Fonseca’s hobbies include, hunting, fishing, and hiking, and spending time at her ranch. She enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Fonseca was selected by the faculty in the College of Agriculture to be the 2016 Star Student in Agriculture Education.

Dodson said “Haylee is truly a role model for her peers in the College of Agriculture. She allows herself to take advantage of the opportunities and roles given to her and definitely strives to be the best person she can be. She is a people person who enjoys making people laugh, and her positive personality helps brighten anyone’s day.”