CSU, Chico

Dan O'dell, Agriculture Education

Dan O'dell, Agriculture Education

If you were to stop and ask a student in Plumas Hall about Dan O'dell, their response might be "Oh! Do you mean Dan the Man?" The nickname originated in O'dell's Introduction to Agricultural Education class last fall and has stuck ever since. With a high demand for agriculture mechanics teachers and a low number of graduates with a focus in mechanics, opportunities for senior agricultural education major "Dan the Man" look promising. 

O'dell is a native of the Chico area and grew up in Oroville. He attended Las Plumas High School where he was active in the FFA program with teachers Matt Joiner, Jim Knapp, Karen Falconer, Cliff Sheer, and Andree' Earley. During high school, O'dell took basic agriculture classes but found his passion and calling in the agriculture mechanics shop where he enrolled in every mechanics class offered. 

O'dell was on the agriculture mechanics team for three years in high school and qualified to compete at the state finals contest. The agricultural mechanics contest prepares students for the expectations in the real world mechanics workplace. Individuals who are interested in careers in the agricultural mechanics area must have a high degree of knowledge and skill as well as have the ability to solve difficult problems. This event blends the testing of manipulative skills and knowledge required for careers in fabrication and construction.

Like many agricultural education majors, O'dell's career path was influenced by his own high school agriculture teachers, who witnessed his skills in the shop and encouraged him to pursue a career as a high school agriculture mechanics teacher.

O'dell enjoys teaching because he can have an active role in helping students advance academically. "I love working with kids as a mechanics teacher because with the one-on-one time, you really get to see their personalities come out in the shop," O'dell says. "It's great to see them progress through material and know that you were a part of that progress."

He says that his career choice combines aspects from his mother's and father's careers. "My mom has worked as a school secretary forever, so I've always been familiar with school systems," O'dell says. "My dad and grandfather were in the carpentry business, so I also grew up building things and working with machinery. Becoming a high school mechanics teacher combines fond childhood memories from my parents into something I'm passionate about."

He came to CSU, Chico in the fall of 2012 after transferring from Butte College with an Associate of Science degree in mechanized agriculture and a certificate in heavy equipment operation. 

The convenience of CSU, Chico being close to home and the articulation with Butte College is what initially attracted O'Dell to CSU, Chico; however, he now appreciates a lot more about the University. "I love the camaraderie of students," he says. "The Ag Ed family is so tight-knit, and we all know each other very well. My experience here has been as great as it's been because Dr. Dodson has really forced me to get out of my comfort zone and do something else besides just taking classes. The teachers here are all so helpful because they make you successful inside and outside of the College of Agriculture."

At CSU, Chico, O'dell is a member of the Alpha Tau Alpha club for future agriculture education teachers.  Meetings consist of guest speakers and information on different aspects of agriculture education such as Supervised Agriculture Experiences and proficiency applications. O'dell was selected to serve on the tabulations committee of the 2013 FFA Field Day Leadership Team, where he meticulously computed all contest scores from the contests held at Butte College.

Agricultural Education Professor Brad Dodson believes that O'dell is a hardworking student and will be a valuable asset to the agriculture education community. 

"Dan is an extremely conscientious student," Dodson says. "He's hardworking and puts his best effort into everything he does. He has a genuine interest and passion for teaching high school students. Dan also has practical mechanics experience, which will prove to be valuable as he shares his expertise with his future students."

O'dell hopes to coach an agriculture mechanics team when he begins teaching and to teach classes that include, but aren't limited to, welding, small engines, and/or equipment classes in ideally a multi-teacher program. 

In his spare time, O'dell says he also enjoys gardening so he can have a fresh supply of food right outside his backdoor. Products of his garden include tomatoes, squash, cucumber, baking pumpkins, green beans, and corn.