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College of Agriculture

Abigail Pfister

Agricultural Business

When it came time to pick a college and a major, Gridley native Abigail Pfister knew exactly where she belonged. 

“Being close to home was really important for me, so when my [high school agriculture] advisors talked about their experiences at Chico [State], how they loved the College of Ag and thrived, the choice was clear,” Pfister said.

Although her school of choice was a straightforward decision, Pfister’s educational path has been full of twists and turns. With a rewarding experience in the FFA, she initially planned to pursue agricultural education.

“Being an ag teacher sounded like a great career, challenging but rewarding in the end. But it takes a certain type of person who is willing to give 110 percent each and every day, and I wasn’t sure if I could do that,” Pfister said. “That’s what students deserve.”

With a love for the industry and interacting with producers, these realizations shaped her decision to major in agricultural business. Now in her final semester at Chico State, Pfister has maintained a nearly perfect GPA of 3.97, is praised by instructors for her diligence and critical thinking, and has continued involvement with the honors fraternity, Alpha Zeta, for three years.

Following her pursuit for a career in agricultural business, during summer 2019, Pfister completed a 12-week internship with Cargill at a processing plant in Wisconsin in operations.

“They really valued each of the interns and gave us projects and opportunities to succeed,” Pfister said. “But it did give me a new appreciation for being close to home.”

During her senior year, Pfister’s dream job became a reality when she was offered a full-time position at Cargill upon graduation. However, after completing an internship so far from home, the Fresno-based position didn’t meet her new criteria.

“Ultimately, I’d love to work in accounts management, sales, or production for an agricultural company close to home where I can effectively work with others to achieve a common goal,” she said.

In 2019, the “California Agriculture Seminar” class (AGRI 301) allowed Pfister to broaden her perspective of agriculture through guest speakers and agricultural tours across California.

“It really opens your eyes to agriculture outside of Butte County and gives every student the opportunity to find their interests and niche, because there’s opportunities in each sector,” she said.

On the College of Agriculture, Pfister described her favorite part as the community of students and faculty alike. With faculty who care and are willing to help, Pfister said she’s never experienced negativity amongst those in Plumas Hall.

Among those who have supported Pfister, agricultural business professor Christine Carroll became an outstanding figure in Pfister’s undergraduate career through her dedication to her students in and out of the classroom from moral support during advising to her poise in the classroom.

“Abby stood out right away as someone who is extremely bright and curious. She goes beyond understanding what is required to pass an exam, for example, to make sure she truly understands how things work,” Carroll said. “I’m not sure yet where she’ll end up in the industry, but I know she will find her niche and excel.”

Throughout her experience at Chico State, Pfister was eager to get out of her comfort zone with quirky electives that turned into eye-opening experiences and encourages incoming students to do the same.

“Rather than choosing electives to earn a minor, I made it my goal to take the weirdest classes that would make my dad roll his eyes when I told him about them,” Pfister said. “When you get a job, businesses don’t care about minors, so have fun with your classes and don’t get in a rut with the same people every semester in classes.”