CSU, Chico

Sarah Neuharth, Crops, Horticulture, and Land Resource Management

Sarah Neuharth, Crops, Horticulture, and Land Resource Management

Sarah Neuharth, a senior in crops, horticulture, and land resource management, spent her 2011 summer in Des Moines, Iowa, working as the public affairs intern for Pioneer Hi-Bred.

Last fall, while surfing around www.agcareers.com, Neuharth came across the opportunity at Pioneer Hi-Bred and decided to apply.  She completed a three-stage interview process and was selected for a two-and-a-half-month internship in the Pioneer Hi-Bred public affairs department.

During her internship with Pioneer Hi-Bred, Neuharth spent a lot of time monitoring social media such as Twitter and Facebook for issues involving Pioneer and topics of interest and concern to the company. She also monitored global media for breaking news and any media reports about Pioneer.

Neuharth also helped plan events and participate in public affairs committees for large company events. One highlight of her internship was helping to plan a visit to Pioneer by Newt Gingrich. She contacted media and set up interviews with the presidential candidate.

“When first going to the internship I was really nervous because I haven’t taken a communication class and I was going to work in a public affairs office,” said Neuharth. “But I picked up on the communications aspect of the job quickly, and it made me realize I want to pursue a career in the public affairs.”

Neuharth’s path into agriculture was the fortuitous result of a high school scheduling error.  Neuharth’s parents were both in the military, and upon retirement the family settled in Yelm, Wash. During Neuharth’s first year at Yelm High School, she signed up for an Associated Student Body leadership class. However, she was mistakenly enrolled in agriculture leadership. She had no prior experience with agriculture, but she wanted to stick out the class. From that little mix-up, Neuharth became involved in FFA, taking leadership positions and showing sheep at her county fair.

Neuharth first heard of the California State University, Chico College of Agriculture while attending a cousin’s graduation from the Department of Recreation, Hospitality, and Parks Management at CSU, Chico. When she heard the College of Agriculture graduates called to the stage, she new CSU, Chico was the place for her.

Though Neuharth applied to and was accepted to CSU, Chico, she deferred her enrollment for a year to serve as the Washington State 2007-2008 Future Farmers of America treasurer. As the treasurer, she served as a liaison to the Washington Farm Bureau and gained an interest in agriculture relations and education.

When she first came to CSU, Chico after her FFA state officer adventure, Neuharth was an agriculture major with an option in ag education. Through hands-on experience, she realized she had a passion for plants and changed her option to crops, horticulture, and land resource management.

“I love agriculture education, but I never saw myself teaching in a classroom,” said Neuharth. “I still want to go into a career teaching agriculture but as an outreach coordinator, in marketing or communicating with the public.”

Since enrolling at CSU, Chico, Neuharth has been very active on and off campus. She is treasurer for the Crop Science and Horticulture Club, chronicler for Alpha Zeta, an agriculture ambassador, and a student member of California Association for Pest Control Advisors.

Neuharth served as the 2010-2011 crop science and horticulture club treasurer. During her tenure as treasurer, Neuharth was in charge of fundraising and keeping track of the club finances. She planned and helped cook and sell chili for the club’s chili bar fundraiser. She also coordinated and managed the club T-shirt fundraiser. In May 2011, Neuharth was elected to serve as the president of the club for the 2011-2012 academic year.

As the 2011-2012 chronicler for Alpha Zeta, the agriculture honors fraternity, Neuharth is responsible for updating the club bulletin board, taking pictures of events, meetings, and service projects, and communicating with the national organization about the fraternity’s activities.

After graduation in May, Neuharth hopes to work in public affairs and said, “I can definitely see myself pursuing a career with Pioneer Hi-Bred and living in Des Moines.”