CSU, Chico

Ashley Hautala, Agriculture Education

Ashley Hautala, Agriculture Education

If she’s not on campus or taking a spontaneous road trip with friends, you may see Ashley Hautala serving you your latest coffee craving at a Chico Dutch Bros. Hautala has a willingness to serve not at work but also to the community in which she lives. 

Hautala is a first-year agriculture education major who found her passion as a child in 4-H. Growing up in Fort Bragg with her mother, whose family was involved in the fishing industry, and her father, who is a lumber booker involved in the forestry and timber business, Hautala was always encouraged to seek a career in the agriculture industry.  

Throughout her time in high school, her involvement in FFA shaped her general interest in the industry into a specific goal of one day teaching agriculture and running an FFA program of her own. It was at her first state FFA conference—surrounded by a sea of blue corduroy, the air filled with a common love for agriculture and excitement for what was to come next—that Hautala wondered, “How can I do this for the rest of my life?” From that point on, she focused on becoming as involved in FFA as possible, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Her high school teacher and mentor Megan Tunzi confirmed her career choice.

“She showed me the impact one human can have on a person’s life, as well as how exciting and rewarding teaching can be,” Hautala said.

As she began to pursue higher education, her initial thought was to attend Colorado State University. When she really deliberated her choices, though, she decided to come to California State University, Chico because of the variety of agriculture surrounding the area and also because of the strong reputation of its College of Agriculture.

“Since day one of becoming a part of the College of Agriculture, I have been told ‘it is a big family,’ and throughout my year at Chico I have seen that that statement is unquestionably true,” Hautala said. “The students are close with each other as well [with] as the staff, which makes it an enjoyable learning environment and easier to want to get involved.”

As a first-year student, Hautala prides herself on being able to pay her college tuition based off the academic scholarships she has acquired. One of the scholarships she is particularly proud of is the College of Agriculture’s Academic and Performance Recruitment Scholarship.