College of Agriculture

Sophia Benitez

Student standing next to cow.

From the heart of agriculture in Visalia, California, Sophia Benitez is a first-year student majoring in Animal Science with an interest in breeding and genetics.

She has always had a love for animals with her childhood dream of becoming a small animal veterinarian. When she joined her high school agriculture program, she was exposed to a variety of fields in agriculture. She participated in public speaking events as well as the horse judging career development event.  

During her tour at Chico State, she fell in love with the campus and the community. Denise Crosswhite and the Ag Ambassadors provided Benitez with a farm and campus tour.  

"During the tour, I felt heard and valued as a student so I knew coming to Chico State would be a great decision,” Benitez said.  

Benitez also connected with students from the College of Agriculture at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, California where she met Thomas Henderson that confirmed her decision of choosing Chico State. She is also awarded as a Bell Family Scholarship Recipient.  

“This has lifted the weight off of my parents and I’s shoulders. This allows me to really focus on my education and I feel so honored to be a part of this.” 

She is interested in pursuing graduate school after Chico State then becoming an animal science professor at a university specializing in sheep and goats. Benitez is an intern at the University Farm Sheep Unit. 

“I love the employees working at the sheep unit. The work environment is very comfortable, organized, and flexible with my school schedule. My favorite part is the lambing season and being able to hold a big role in the unit as a first-year student.”  

Benitez’s favorite class so far has been “Introduction to Animal Science” (ANSC 101) with Kate Moore because of the tours and demonstrations at each unit. She also enjoys being an active member in Ag Ambassador to help with high school visits to provide guidance and reassurance to high school students interested in college.  

One of her biggest role models in the College of Agriculture is Josie Hernandez who is currently a senior majoring in Animal Science who works at the sheep unit. Benitez enjoys being able to shadow her at the sheep unit to learn from someone with great experience.  

Benitez favorite memory so far is helping with the Sheep and Goat Day at the farm. She led one of the workshops on how to properly show sheep and work one on one with younger students. She felt connected to teach the 4-H students.  

Benitez offers some valuable advice to any incoming student:  

“Do not be scared to take time for yourself to find your place and friends,” Benitez said. “It will not happen overnight but with time you will find your place.” 

She is also involved in the Chico Sheep Assocation Club and the Pre-Vet club. On her free time, she enjoys hiking to be outside and spending quality time with friends and family. Benitez is excited for her next few years at Chico State to make the most of her college experience.