CSU, Chico

Patricia Garcia, Animal Science

Patricia Garcia, Animal Science

Since day one, animal science major Patricia Garcia has always set the bar a notch higher for herself. It started at age 10, when Garcia saw an opportunity to make a few dollars helping her older sister raise and sell pet doves, and has continued as she now pursues animal science with the career goal to work with avian science. Growing up in Orange County, she wasn’t always exposed to agriculture. But, starting her junior year in high school, she knew that agriculture and veterinary science would be an interest of hers from there on out.

In Jalisco, Mexico, Garcia’s mother and father both were exposed to agriculture and livestock animals, which they primarily raised and sold locally. Upon moving to Southern California, her parents settled in the small city of Buena Park, where Garcia describes herself as “just a city kid with an interest in animals.” However, that quickly changed within her first two weeks in the Future Farmers of America program at her high school, when her advisor, Jessica Fernandez, recognized Garcia’s interest in veterinary science and encouraged her to join the specialty animal judging team.

It was Fernandez’s encouragement and mentorship that Garcia defines as one of the biggest motivators for her to pursue a career in agriculture. Not only did Fernandez push Garcia to get involved in the Future Farmers of America’s judging programs, but she helped her find livestock projects to keep at the school farm, furthering her interest in agriculture. When she began to consider college options, she never pictured herself at CSU, Chico, but a high school classmate encouraged Garcia to apply. Shortly before the deadline to choose a college, Garcia visited Chico and discovered that the College of Agriculture was the right fit for her.

Three years later, Garcia heads into her junior year of college with a major in animal science, minors in biochemistry and biology, and a general education pathway in science, technology, and values. Garcia doesn’t shy away from difficult courses, saying, “I want to challenge myself to earn the education I desire.” Instead of simply taking the required courses, she has added two minors and continues to expand her educational opportunities in order to enter veterinary school with every advantage possible.

Not only does she excel in her studies, but she works in the college as a laboratory assistant, preparing labs with materials, preparing chemical solutions, washing and sanitizing dishes, taking inventory, and assisting with various lab jobs in Plumas Hall and at the University Farm. She is active in Alpha Zeta, an academic club within the College of Agriculture, where she serves as secretary and builds opportunities for the club to serve students and their philanthropic objectives.

Garcia has received scholarships and awards within and outside of the College of Agriculture, such as the Superior Agriculture Scholarship, Agriculture Faculty and Staff Scholarship, and one of the highest honors on campus, the Lt. Robert Merton Rawlins Award, which recognizes scholarship, extracurricular activities, and professionally related and academic accomplishments. She was one of two students chosen in the College of Agriculture and 14 across the University who received the award for 2015–2016.

When asked about some of her favorite aspects of the College of Agriculture, she credited the work of professors and hands-on lab experience as having prepared her more than she could have ever anticipated. She says the most important thing she’s learned in her time at CSU, Chico has been, “Get involved and get to know your professors. Building a relationship with them is key, and they will work above and beyond to help you in any way.” She laughs about the different stories with professors in the College of Agriculture, and the different ways they’ve reached out to make her feel at home in her different classes. Both Celina Phillips and Patrick Doyle have helped her lay out her career options, and continue to advise her in her pre-veterinary path.

Looking forward, Garcia says she hopes to be in veterinary school in five years, preparing for a career in avian sciences. She hopes to assist in conservation efforts for birds or work with exotic animals at a zoo, a goal that she pursues because, “To me, avian sciences aren’t the standard area of study for vet students, and I’ve always enjoyed how unique that is.”