College of Agriculture

Kelley Duggan

Animal Science

Kelley Duggan’s childhood can be summed up in a single photograph: a small child sitting with her father on the back of a horse. Although the exact moment is a blur, it perfectly represents her childhood where agriculture was engrained from day one. Born in Fallon, Nevada, with ranching on both sides of the family, it’s only fitting that she formed her own passion for the industry.

Kelley DugganDuggan’s mother came from a seventh-generation ranching family in Winnemucca and her father from a ranching background in Prineville, Oregon. She lived in Susanville with her parents teaching at Lassen Community College until the age of nine when she moved to Terrebonne, Oregon, where her dad began working as an agricultural extension agent and educator at Oregon State University.

Growing up two miles from her grandfather’s ranch also played a huge part in Duggan’s love of agriculture. The experience combined ranching and farming, with a seasonal pumpkin patch that guided her education in diversified operations and marketing products directly to the community.

Duggan’s own enterprises in agriculture began in the 4-H where she showed dogs, horses, and swine until she started a breeding heifer project in high school.

“Creating my own breeding program and making selection programs for my growing herd really pointed me towards an interest in genetics and reproduction,” Duggan said.

With a growing passion for her cattle enterprises, she knew animal agriculture was in her future and decided to enroll at Chico State as an animal science major with a pre-vet emphasis.

“I had been to the farm for FFA Field Day many times, but it wasn’t until visiting campus and meeting the faculty that I knew it was the right fit,” she said. “I came in as pre-vet, but after working with Dr. DeAtley and Dr. Doyle on research and continuing to work at the beef unit, it affirmed my passion for the production side.”

Duggan is currently applying for graduate school with the hopes of receiving her master’s degree in animal science through the breeding and genetics program at Colorado State University.

In 2019, Duggan spent her summer in Encampment, Wyoming, as an intern at the Colorado State University John E. Rouse Beef Improvement, also known as the One Bar Eleven Ranch to the locals. There, she worked as a ranch hand on the commercial cow-calf operation while making connections with the research team from CSU.

“It really brought back my love for cowboy-ing and working cattle while making great connections which have led my intertest in Colorado State for my masters,” she said.

At Chico State, Duggan has been extensively involved since her freshman year in numerous clubs and undergraduate research. A member of the Young Cattlemen’s Association, serving as an officer for three years, Duggan serves as the current president. In addition, she has been a part of the Rangeland Management Club since its inauguration in 2017. With both clubs, Duggan has travelled to numerous meetings and conferences while networking with livestock professionals from across the country.

In addition to her involvement with clubs and research, employment at the Chico State Beef Unit played a key role in Duggan’s undergraduate experience and has fueled her passion for the industry.

“Over the past four years, I’ve poured my heart and soul into the beef unit and look forward to going to work every day,” she said. “I also learn best by doing, and being able to apply classroom knowledge daily has greatly enhanced my college experience. It feels like home to me, to go out and work with cattle each day and work with my hands instead of sitting at a desk.”

“YCA really allowed me to grow as a leader and find myself,” she said. “I’ve really come out of my shell in professional settings and been exposed to the industry.”

In addition to her club involvement, Duggan’s livestock judging career with Coach Clay Carlson has also played a key role in her college experience.

“With an amazing team, I’ve gotten to travel across the country and see quality livestock you could only dream of. The knowledge I’ve gained and connections I made are priceless,” Duggan said.

In addition to the influence of Carlson, professors Kasey DeAtley and Patrick Doyle played an instrumental role in her experience at Chico State. In classes and with undergraduate research, the senior said that the faculty have really opened doors for her with connections and were what pushed her to her level of great involvement.

DeAtley said, “It has been a pleasure to see Kelley mature into a capable, enthusiastic, and driven young woman. She continues to impress me with her genuine passion for beef cattle, intelligence, common sense, and work ethic, and I have no doubt the success she will have in graduate school.”

In her undergraduate courses, Duggan mentions that “Reproductive Physiology of Domestic Animals,” “Advanced Beef Cattle Management and Production,” and “Agricultural Genetics” were extremely beneficial in addition to “Introduction to Animal Science” where she helped facilitate laboratories with professor Kate Moore at the University Farm.  

“Getting to be involved with the [ANSC 101] labs and seeing [Moore] teach has opened my eyes to where I could be in the future with teaching and the education side of animal science,” Duggan said.

Ultimately, Duggan hopes to pursue a career in livestock breeding and genetics upon receiving her master’s degree.

“I’m not sure where I’ll be in a few years but I want to make an impact on the livestock industry wherever I end up,” she said.