College of Agriculture

Karla Ahumada

student spotlight Karla Ahumada
Growing up in an area place known as the “salad bowl of the world” in Salinas, California helped make Karla Ahumada is no stranger to agriculture. Originally from a small farming town in Mexico, the Ahumada family has been involved in the agriculture industry for years. Karla’s father worked in the Salinas strawberry fields and trained horses, both skills that he passed along to his daughters.

In high school, Ahumada showed swine and was actively involved in her local Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter. As a freshman, Ahumada was a quiet and reserved individual. However, it was her agriculture advisor that encouraged her to step outside of her comfort zone and try new things. Ahumada attributes much of her professional success to her advisor. Of the many things she did, competing in FFA Career Development Events gave her the opportunity to explore different colleges around California. Attending field days with her marketing plan team, Ahumada was introduced to the agriculture program at Chico State. She now attends as a Bell Family Presidential Scholar.

As a third-year student at Chico State, Ahumada began her time at Chico State as an Agricultural Business major. While interning at the University Farm dairy unit, Ahumada developed a passion for soil health and the study of microorganisms. After finishing the 199 course, she was hired as a Dairy Management team member, where her knowledge of land management and soil quality continued to grow. These experiences ultimately influenced her to double major in Plant and Soil Science, helping shape her future career path.

Ahumada now works in the Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems (CRARS) soils lab, providing her with valuable soil assessment experience in a lab setting. She has learned the process of sampling soil in the field, performing analytical measurements, and how to understand data. She can often be found on campus in the soils lab or out at the University Farm.

Within the College of Agriculture, Ahumada is an active participant in many extracurriculars. Over the last three years, she has been heavily involved in the Ag Ambassadors program, serving as the current chair. Leading farm tours, organizing school visits, attending conferences, and facilitating advocacy events are just a few of the things Ahumada dedicates her time to.

She has also been a member of the FFA Field Day committee, Crops and Horticulture club, Dairy Science and Industry Club, and has competed at the national level with the food marketing team. Ahumada recognizes that these clubs often connect students with industry professionals and helps build positive relationships. Her involvement with the Crops and Horticulture club allowed her to meet with the Northern California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA) and hear about applicable career advice.

Outtside of school, Ahumada enjoys spending time with her horses and her family. Having horses her whole life, she grew up riding in parades alongside her father and younger sister. Family is extremely important to Ahumada and considers her parents to be her biggest role models.

Student spotlight junior Karla Ahumada at the University Farm“It all comes down to my parents. I admire the fact that they have been able to build a life starting from nothing. While they were not able to attend college themselves, education is their top priority for me and my sister.”

Ahumada reminds her fellow students not to be afraid to try new things. Before attending Chico State, she had never worked on a dairy. However, it is because of her time there that she has been able to shape her future career path. Over the summers, Ahumada has worked numerous different internships all relevant to her major studies. Working for Springfield Farms, the county fair back home, and a berry operation in Watsonville have all provided her with valuable industry skills. She plans to continue in this career direction after graduating from Chico State.