CSU, Chico

Jacquelyn Wasche, Crops, Horticulture, and Land Resource Managment

Jacquelyn Wasche, Crops, Horticulture, and Land Resource Managment


The 2016 Star Student in crops, horticulture, and land resource management found her way into agriculture on her path to becoming a writer. Growing up on her uncle’s ranch in Palermo for a majority of her life, Jacquelyn Wasche never realized the connection between passion and what could be her future career. Her dream throughout her childhood and all the way through high school was to pursue a career as a writer, illustrating and writing her own books.

With the ambition of becoming a writer in mind, Wasche began to take mainly general education classes at Butte College, including a soils class taught by professor Bruce Hicks. Wasche thought that she was simply checking off another general education requirement, but Hicks opened Wasche’s eyes to the endless possibilities of not just soils, but everything involved with agriculture. The class brought back memories of her uncle’s ranch and re-sparked her interest in farming—but this time as a career possibility.

When coming to CSU, Chico, Wasche decided to focus on land resource management. She hopes to work with natural resources and land management groups to help farmers learn how to work with the environment, benefiting them and their resources. Ideally, Wasche would like work for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) or within the land resource consulting field in general. Wasche would also like to have her own vegetable farm where she could develop a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project open for public involvement.

Wasche, who is heavily involved with the CSU, Chico Organic Vegetable Project (OVP), is no stranger to managing various crops. She was hired in the summer of 2015 to be the OVP variety trials research assistant. Within two weeks, Wasche was promoted to manager of the variety trials research. In August of 2015, she was promoted to her current position of field manager of the OVP. As the field manager, she oversees everything from planting, soil quality, crop management as well as field design, crop maintenance, and soil management.

Wasche’s involvement with the OVP is one of the reasons for her nomination as star student. Professor Lee Altier said, "As the field manager of the Organic Vegetable Project, Jackie has done an outstanding job of coordinating activities with the other crew members. She has also worked hard to enhance productivity while using available resources in an efficient and sustainable manner."

Not only does Wasche maintain the OVP, but she also volunteers at the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. There, she helps with restoration work, planting trees and making sure they stay healthy. In addition to restoration, she helps remove invasive species.

Wasche is familiar with academic success. As a senior in high school, she spent the year at Butte College in the College Connections program where she graduated top 10 in her class. While at CSU, Chico, she has been on the Dean’s List numerous semesters, maintaining a 3.5 or higher GPA while being enrolled as a full-time student.

While Wasche feels that all her instructors at Chico State have made a huge impact in her life and aspirations, there are a few that have especially helped her on her journey to success. Many of the plant science professors have helped her, including Lee Altier, Rich Rosecrance, and Garrett Liles, who has provided career advice and mentoring over the past couple years.

Wasche also credits Tina Mize, the staff supervisor at the Organic Vegetable Project. She considers Mize to be an influential person who has shared invaluable knowledge about management and crops that will stick for the rest of her life.

In addition to the faculty in the College of Agriculture, Wasche’s biggest influence at Chico State has been her geography professor, Don Hankins. She said that Hankins gave her direction and truly inspired her passion for resource management and her career aspirations.

Wasche’s favorite thing about the College of Agriculture is the amount of hands-on experience it provides for students through labs, classes, internships, jobs, and volunteer opportunities. With all these opportunities offered by the college, she feels that it makes for well-rounded students and successful entrepreneurs.

When Wasche isn’t managing the OVP or attending her last semester at CSU, Chico, she can be found gardening or hanging out with her family. Although she has moved on from her original dream of writing and illustrating her own books, you can sometimes still catch her picking up a pencil and an empty book to write science fiction novels.

Wasche has enjoyed her time here at CSU, Chico, and her advice to incoming freshmen is decide on a career path early and plan their educational objectives to achieve it. Wasche also advises exploring courses in other departments that may not be required.

“I have advanced my agricultural knowledge so much more by taking courses in biology and geography,” she said. “I only wish I had narrowed my career path earlier so I had time to take more and different courses before I had to graduate.”

Wasche was selected by the faculty in the College of Agriculture to be the 2016 Star Student in Crops, Horticulture, and Land Resource Management.