CSU, Chico

Amie French, Agriculture Business

Amie French, Agriculture Business

Maintaining a 4.0 GPA is a rare accomplishment at the university level. However, difficult things are not so difficult for full-time student and superwoman Amie French. With a 4.0 GPA, a hardworking attitude, and clear sight of her academic goals, French is on the road to success. She transferred to California State University, Chico in 2012 to pursue a degree in agricultural business. She is on track to graduate in the spring of 2014 and already is making plans for furthering her education.

French graduated from Bret Harte High School in Angels Camp in 2010. She maintained a 4.0 GPA in high school while also being heavily involved in the FFA program. She attributes her success and involvement in the agriculture industry to her high school agriculture teacher, Mr. Beck, who took her under his wing and saw her leadership potential. Her involvement in the program included being the manager of the rabbit cooperatives her senior year, attending all leadership conferences, competing on a national champion poultry judging team, and caring for the chapter's flock of sheep. 

After high school, French attended Modesto Junior College where she was selected as an Agriculture West Campus Intern and worked on the poultry unit. Modesto Junior College's West Campus internship program is a prestigious two-year internship that provides students with free housing in exchange for working a minimum of 12 hours a week for the agriculture department and being enrolled in a minimum of 16 units each semester. Seven houses on the school farm provide the 28 selected students with housing. Areas where students work include the swine unit, poultry unit, sheep unit, beef unit, mechanics shop, the agriculture office, and the crops and orchards unit on Beckwith Road.

French was selected to be one of three interns in charge of running the fully functional poultry unit. The unit consists of approximately 2,000 conventional laying hens, 500 free-range laying hens, a small hatchery, pheasant and quail game birds, and a state-certified poultry processing unit. French and the two other interns were responsible for feeding the 2,500-plus birds daily as well as collecting, counting, and properly storing as many as 2,000 eggs each day. She also sold eggs weekly at the local farmers market. She was responsible for hauling eggs to and from the market with a custom-made refrigerated truck, setting up the stand, and mingling with customers and educating them about the poultry industry. 

Aside from her internship at Modesto Junior College, French also held two positions on the college's Young Farmers team as secretary and Inter Club Council (ICC) representative. Her first semester serving as secretary, French recorded all business that took place in weekly executive meetings and then produced minutes that were sent out to all faculty and staff in the agriculture department. The second semester French was the ICC Representative where she represented the agriculture department in campuswide club meetings that were held biweekly. "I loved my position as ICC representative," French said. "It gave me the opportunity to meet and mingle with other students from different study areas of MJC. It also gave me an inside view to what was going on in the college as a whole."

French transferred to CSU, Chico in the fall of 2012 with, again, a 4.0 GPA from Modesto Junior College.  French planned on attending CSU, Chico ever since she met with the agriculture ambassadors at the College of Agriculture's biggest recruitment event of the year: California State FFA Conference. Her high school agriculture teacher, Mr. Beck, also attended CSU, Chico, which initially sparked her interest. 

While at MJC, French was part of a research project that studied consumer perspectives of the poultry industry.  French and fellow student Karen Flickenger collected data through a surveying process at farmers markets in San Francisco and Modesto, grocery stores such as O'Brien's and Winco, and at various locations in their hometowns of Copperopolis and Hollister.  The project's findings were presented at the 2011 Pacific Egg and Poultry Association (PEPA) conference and won first place competing against four year universities such as UC Davis, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and Oregon State.  Aside from her research accomplishments with PEPA, French has also received scholarships from their organization for the past three years to support her in her educational goals. 

Like many residents and students of Chico, French loves the sense of community and diversity of the town, but she also loves the atmosphere of the college itself. "The professors want you to succeed and really have your best interest at heart," she said. "They have an open-door policy, which really welcomes students. There's a great balance between classroom activity and practical experience along with an interactive camaraderie between students."

Her academic capability hasn't gone unnoticed. Professor Jacob Brimlow has had French in his agricultural finance and agricultural price analysis courses and has been impressed by her work. "Her performance is at the very top of the class," Brimlow said. "Even more impressive to me than her scores on assignments is her willingness and ability to think creatively about difficult problems and do the work necessary to pursue answers."

At CSU, Chico, French has continued to stay involved in the College of Agriculture. She is a sister in the professional agriculture sorority, Sigma Alpha, and has recently joined the coed professional fraternity Alpha Zeta with her academic accomplishments. During the fall semester, in her agriculture leadership class, French helped raise money for the annual campuswide event, Up 'til Dawn, which raises money for Saint Jude Children's Research Hospital. French was also a poultry contest judge for the 2013 CSU, Chico and Butte College FFA Field Day. She has been employed in various areas of the College of Agriculture including walnut research analysis at the University Farm, grading papers, and giving tours of the farm. 

Outside of school activities, French enjoys bass fishing, baking, sewing, and crafting.  She also enjoys walking her mini-bulldog, June, at Bidwell Park. After graduating in spring 2014, French plans to attend Oregon State University to get her MBA and master's in animal science with a focus in poultry production. She hopes to one day pursue a career in the business area of a large-scale poultry operation.