CSU, Chico

Nick Pinkerton, Crops, Horticulture and Land Resource Management

Nick Pinkerton, Crops, Horticulture and Land Resource Management

The California State University, Chico College of Agriculture prides itself on having students who are hardworking, intelligent, and highly sought after by industry professionals. A student who showcases that pride is Nick Pinkerton, a senior in crops, horticulture, and land resource management, who was selected by Monsanto to intern in a traditional corn breeding program during the summer break in 2010.

In an internship review, Pinkerton’s supervisor commented that he is one of the best interns they had ever worked with.

Pinkerton interned for Monsanto for a total of 10 weeks. During that time, he evaluated and set up breeding plots, recorded symptoms of water stress on plants, managed field workers, and managed seed inventory.

“I became familiar and more knowledgeable in breeding techniques and the desirable characteristics of corn to farmers,” Pinkerton said of the experience.

He met with representatives from Monsanto for the first time during the College of Agriculture’s Career and Internship Fair. Pinkerton knew the Monsanto name and was excited that they were interested in hiring him. He knew he would have great learning resources at his hands with an internship through Monsanto.

Not coming from a production agriculture background, Pinkerton wanted to gain the experience and confidence to begin a career in the field after graduation.

“The people of Monsanto work to create a relaxed and positive learning environment for the interns, which helped me build confidence and skills,” Pinkerton said.

Pinkerton grew up in Fortuna, Calif., where he attended Fortuna High School. His family is not involved in production agriculture, but they do have a large family garden where they grow tomatoes, pumpkins, corn, artichokes, and watermelon, as well as several fruit trees. In high school, Pinkerton had the opportunity to work for Clendenen’s Cider Works. Clendenen’s is a family-owned company that produces apples for their homemade cider, as well as their boxed apples. They also buy and sell locally raised produce at their homestead farm.

Pinkerton came to CSU, Chico as a transfer student from Shasta College. At Shasta he took botany and crops classes, which steered him in the direction of production agriculture. He came to CSU, Chico after hearing from peers about the outstanding agriculture program and the coursework he could take that directly related to production agriculture.

Pinkerton knew CSU, Chico was the perfect fit for him and was reassured when he attended classes.

“The professors in the College of Agriculture are motivated and take a personal interest in their students,” Pinkerton said.

Pinkerton also explained how he appreciates that the College of Agriculture Outreach Office puts so much effort into providing the agriculture-focused career and internship fair for students.

“The outreach office organized workshops to teach students how to dress, how to approach professionals, and how to look professional, and having that opportunity gave me the confidence to approach Monsanto about an internship,” he said.

Since coming to CSU, Chico, Pinkerton has been active in Community Action Volunteers in Education (CAVE) and the Crops and Horticulture Club. He also holds down a job as a server at the Olive Garden while attending school full time.

Pinkerton is keeping his options open for a career direction after graduation in May 2011. He is interested in breeding plants and utilizing his experience at Monsanto, but is also interested in pest control and viticulture.