CSU, Chico

Trevor Airola, Agriculture Education

Trevor Airola, Agriculture Education

Trevor Airola is a born conversationalist. His ability to strike up conversations about the agriculture industry with devotion, eagerness, and enthusiasm fueled a desire to promote and eventually teach agriculture. Airola credits his upbringing on a ranch for his strong agricultural passion, and his involvement in the Future Farmers of America (FFA) organization taught him how to turn a casual story about his experiences into a promotional tool.

“I just loved teaching people about agriculture and informing them of what our industry really does,” Airola said. “Becoming an agriculture teacher allows me to always teach about agriculture and hopefully inspire my students to tell their stories.”

In high school, as a Bret Hart FFA member, Airola was inspired to teach others about agriculture after attending FFA conventions and workshops. “I figure it would be quite effective to provide knowledge of the agriculture industry by teaching 100 students that go through the ag department at a high school in a given year,” Airola said.

Airola chose CSU, Chico because he enjoyed everything about the College of Agriculture after spending time at Chico State for field days and other events held on campus. When Airola originally applied, he declared agricultural business as his major, but as he went through his senior year in high school, he was drawn to what FFA did for him as he became more active. The multiple hands-on agricultural literacy experiences and ability to share his knowledge with others led him to quickly decide teaching was for him. During his first week at Chico State, he changed his major to agriculture with an option in agricultural science and education.

Since Airola has arrived at Chico State, he has enjoyed a wide variety of experiences as a University Farm student employee. This will help him become a well-rounded teacher who can provide not only an education but also a variety of experiences to teach from. “Real experiences and classroom experiences makes for a good teaching method,” Airola said. His positions at the University Farm have included working at two different livestock units, the poultry project, and crops unit and general farm maintenance.

During his freshmen year, Airola worked at the beef unit for his directed work experience for one semester and became a student employee for the following year and a half. “The beef unit is usually hard to get on, but knowing I really wanted to work there, I think my persistence earned me a spot on the unit,” Airola explained.

Airola worked at the dairy unit from May 2011 until January 2012. He also took on a University Farm maintenance position for the summer of 2011. Airola is currently the co-manager of the pasture poultry project and has had that position for three semesters. When the annual Chico State-Butte College FFA Field Day rolls around this spring, Airola will be the co-chair for the poultry competition, as he has been for the last two years. He not only helps in the planning and is the official for poultry reasons, but he assists students after the contest to help improve for a future contest. Not only is Airola involved with the animals at the farm, but he has also been helping with the vine seed crops, corn, alfalfa, and wheat through directed work this fall and spring.

“I think the best thing about working at the farm is the diversity of things we grow here and the experience we get,” Airola said. “I had always only had experience with beef and swine, but being here has broadened that base. I now have more experience in other areas when teaching students or helping with fair projects.”

When Airola returns home, he helps at his family’s ranch and works at a local vineyard, Ironstone Vineyards. Airola has a position with Ironstone Vineyards as event staff and helps with their cattle business as well.

Airola is a hard worker at the University Farm and he is involved in various clubs and contributes to his community. Airola is the Alpha Zeta (AZ) treasurer and the Inter Club Council (ICC) representative for Alpha Tau Alpha. His goals for Alpha Zeta are to raise attendance and funds. He is a member of the Young Cattleman’s Association and serves as the 2013 California Young Cattlemen’s Committee secretary. He was also a College of Agriculture Ambassador for one year. As a club member, Airola does many community service projects, but he also does his own community service with organizations such as Tough Enough to Wear Pink. “Being involved with different clubs and taking on tasks like delegating, voicing my opinion, and challenging myself will help me with confidence when I enter a classroom,” he said

Airola helps many FFA students by preparing them for contests, workshops, and the annual state convention. This year, he helped with a practice agriculture mechanics contest, and he is currently planning a workshop for this years’ state convention.

Airola is graduating next fall and will enter the credential program in spring 2014. He hopes to pursue his student teaching at a school with a strong mechanics program so he can learn the most in an area he feels he needs the most experience with. He hopes this will help prepare him for a position as a livestock and mechanics high school teacher near Angels Camp, where he would like to continue to work on his family’s ranch.

As fifth-generation beef cattle producer, Airola wants to continue to help grow the cow-calf operation. His dream is to return to Bret Hart High School and take over the agriculture program as the animal science and ag mechanics teacher while growing the current family cattle business to a number close to 1,000 head, where it had once been in previous years.