College of Agriculture

Chloe Dugger

Crops, Horticulture, and Land Resource Management 

Each day when Chloe Dugger leaves her apartment, you can guarantee that she has a pair of dirty muck boots in the back of her car, ready for any muddy experience her day may throw at her. A junior in crops, horticulture, and land resource management, her dedication to her studies and new passion for agriculture is clearly evident. However, agriculture wasn’t always the driving force that it is in her life today.

Dugger grew up in the rural outskirts of San Diego and graduated from Valley Center Preparatory School, where she completed independent study and she and her father cultivated a family garden each year. A daughter of two teachers, she valued her education and was involved in one of the first pilot classes in middle school for an agricultural sciences program. That first exposure to agriculture sparked an interest that would only continue to grow. Upon high school graduation, Dugger attended Mira Costa College while nannying close to home in San Diego.

“I was in junior college for a while, but having the time to focus on myself and figure out who I am was worth it. I took lots of new classes, found new interests and developed the path that I’m now pursuing at Chico,” Dugger said.

She toured universities across the state before ultimately making her decision. As soon as she set foot on the Chico State campus, she knew it felt right.

“Seeing the campus and all the opportunities at the [University] farm, there were so many aspects I loved. I told my parents, ‘This is it,’” she said.

Since joining the College of Agriculture, Dugger has taken full advantage of the opportunities at the farm, working as a research assistant for plant science professor Hossein Zakeri. She has completed research in fava bean production, pea plants, and alfalfa, and she has recently coordinated a project exploring the effects of stress pre-conditioning on heat and drought tolerance in corn. Dugger presented her corn research in Baltimore and Fresno at undergraduate research competitions, earning first place at both.

After working closely with Dugger on research, Zakeri said, “Chloe is one of those students that always has a clear goal in mind and is willing to put in the time and hard work to accomplish it. I have no doubt that she will do great in her profession.”

Outside of her own classes, Dugger also assists in teaching the “Introduction to Plant Science” lecture and laboratory classes.

She also loves to spend her time cooking, sewing, going to alternative music concerts, and settling down with a mystery or crime novel. She likes exploring new recipes, but she’ll always go back to her mother’s spaghetti recipe as a reminder of home.

Ultimately, Dugger looks forward to attending graduate school to pursue a career in hop production. Her interest in the niche market of wet hop production and cultivation of different aromatic hops drives her goal to develop her own business in Southern California.

The College of Agriculture community, she said, has played an integral role in identifying her path.

“The faculty are accessible and willing to get to know you. Getting that face-to-face time with faculty and getting to know them is how I was able to get involved in research and travel,” Dugger said.

For incoming students in the College of Agriculture, Dugger recommends taking classes outside of your major to explore new aspects of agriculture and grow new interests because you never know what new passions you may find.