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College of Agriculture

Tessa Greenough

Agriculture Education

 Growing up in Lincoln, California, a town historically rich in agriculture, Tessa Greenough never knew it would be the industry where she would find her passion years later. With a mother in medical billing and a father in telecommunications, agriculture was not a predestined path for Greenough. 

Tessa GreenoughShe grew up cheering for 12 years and competing in track until her athletic career was suddenly turned upside down. A devastating back injury proved a need for change, and Greenough soon found herself in a high school agriculture course that would begin to form her new life.

A shy sophomore in the back of the classroom, Greenough wasn’t always the confident, outspoken individual she is today. It was her high school agriculture teacher, Morgan Perry, who brought it out of her.

“After talking about my SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience) project, raising a pig at an open house on the farm, she saw something in me and pushed me to get involved,” she said. “I remember walking back and forth on a table in her classroom practicing a speech for sectional FFA office, and that’s where I realized how much she cared.”

Greenough said the initial push Perry gave her in high school was exactly what she needed after being brought down by her injury. Although she didn’t win sectional office, Greenough reflects on the process as a year of growth.

“I realized that failures are growth and if it’s meant to be, it will be,” Greenough said.

Her new mindset compelled her to try again the following year, and she was elected to regional FFA office. Her time in regional office introduced Greenough to Chico State professor Brad Dodson, whose influence confirmed her desire to pursue a degree in agriculture at Chico State.

Greenough made her way to Chico State as a freshman in 2017 with an eagerness to learn and a love for animal science. Little did she know, at the end of her first semester, her passion would lead her down a new path toward agricultural education.

 “I always knew I wanted to teach, but I didn’t want to let my students down. I didn’t want them to be set back by my deficit of agricultural experience.” Greenough said.

Greenough’s hesitancy to go into education stemmed from this fear of letting them down, but her new experiences at Chico State began to dispel this misconception. Greenough soon realized that no matter how much experience she had, she would never know everything.

“I needed to realize that you never stop learning,” she said. “I want to be good at something before I start, but now I know that this is what I’m meant to do. I can let my passion guide me.”

Agriculture education instructor Alyssa Schager was one of the main points of inspiration when it came to Greenough’s transition. She describes Schager as the supporter who pushed her to pursue the pathway in education, and someone she could strive to be as an educator.

Aside from academics, Greenough has become involved in the Young Cattlemen’s Association and Collegiate FFA where she served as the reporter. In addition, Greenough works in the Crops and Orchards at the University Farm.

“I never really had an interest in plants but over the last year it’s really opened my eyes and I learn something new every day,” she said. “Being able to learn and grow, I can inspire my future students and grow others’ futures.”

In addition, Greenough serves as the Superior Region FFA intern for advisor and mentor Hugh Mooney, where she has the opportunity to interact with agriculture teachers and students every day. She describes Mooney as a passionate educator and a great mentor to look to for guidance and inspiration.

As recognition of her hard work and dedication to her education, Greenough received several scholarships included those from the Superior Region FFA, Lincoln FFA Chapter, and the Thermolands Scholarship. She credits these scholarships with alleviating some of the financial pressures of school, and she appreciates their investments in her education.

About the College of Agriculture, Greenough said her favorite thing is the welcoming atmosphere. The close-knit college makes her feel at home, and the faculty member’s willingness to get to know students makes her feel valued.

For incoming freshman in the College of Agriculture, Greenough encourages students to get involved and find new interests, while not spreading themselves too thin. She also recommends getting to know the faculty early on because those relationships build a foundation where students can develop their strengths and become inspired.

“I’m a firm believer that the people you surround yourself with shape who you are as a person,” Greenough said.

In five years, Greenough looks forward to beginning her career as an agriculture teacher in Northern California, learning and growing alongside her students every day.