College of Agriculture

Saul Reyes

Student holds a handful of soil

Saul Reyes has combined his passion for social justice and love of agriculture to create a unique educational path for himself. The first-generation college student from Hanford, California, is a senior double majoring in plant and soil science (with an option in crops and horticulture) and multicultural and gender studies.

Reyes began his freshmen year as an agricultural education major because of his interest in agricultural literacy, but once he discovered plant and soil science he found where he belonged.

He fell in love with Integrated Pest Management (IPM) classes like entomology and crop science, and his career path changed to becoming a pest control advisor (PCA). 

Reyes also had the opportunity to explore classes in multicultural and gender studies, which opened his eyes to the lack of diversity in agriculture, and a socioeconomic justice class highlighting food sparked his interest in food insecurity around the world. He eventually added multicultural and gender studies as a second major.

“An issue in the agriculture industry is having a worldwide stable food supply. My goal is to promote social justice, especially within the agriculture industry. I want to increase people of color in the agriculture industry by making it more inclusive to be a part of,” Reyes said.

Reyes would like to see more diversity in agricultural teaching faculty, and more opportunities for people of color in the industry. He encourages fellow students to take sociology classes to better understand the agricultural issues facing the world today.

Reyes chose Chico State because he wanted to major in agriculture and gain more independence by moving from Central to Northern California.

In the summers of 2019 and 2020, Reyes interned at the Rice Experiment Station in Biggs through the University of California, Davis cooperative extension program, where he was able to design rice fields to test a variety of herbicides.

“One of my favorite parts of this internship was being able to work with other Chico State students and alumni. I enjoyed being able to see my classwork translate to real-world industry experiences,” Reyes said.

Reyes also worked as a public relations intern for the multicultural and gender studies department where he learned about graphic design and social media, and how to apply activism through digital media.

In the summer of 2021, Reyes worked with Professor Betsy Boyd to test insect traps in Butte County for the California Walnut Board. He traveled to different walnut orchards in the county to test each of the traps, gaining hands-on experience in entomology and weed science that will relate to his future career.

“I appreciate everything Dr. Boyd has done for me. I admire her intelligence about entomology and weed science and I strive to have a work ethic like her. I love being able to work with her on different research opportunities. She is my biggest role model in the College of Agriculture,” Reyes said.  

Two of Reyes’ favorite classes in the College of Agriculture were “Economic Entomology” (PSSC 340) and “Introduction to Weed Science” (PSSC 343), where he was able to trap, identify, and label 50 different insects, and develop a 50-species weed collection.

Reyes has offered some valuable advice for current and incoming students:

“You will learn more when you actively participate and engage in your classes with your fellow students and professors,” Reyes said. “It is important to pay attention and sit in the front of the class. Reach out to professors to see what opportunities they might have for you.”

One of Reyes’ favorite memories in the College of Agriculture was going to the National Future Farmers of America Convention in Indiana, where he was able to make valuable connections with other students and faculty members.

Outside the classroom, Reyes is active in extracurricular activities on campus. He is a member of the Gamma Zeta Alpha fraternity where he has held positions of vice president, secretary, and public relations chair.

He is also a member of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán (MEChA), a Chicano student social and political organization, where he has helped with a variety of activities like a holiday toy drive, Dia De Los Muertos event, and a Latinx graduation celebration that acknowledges Latinx students for graduating.

In Reyes’ free time he enjoys going to Bidwell Park, bike riding, and exploring new parts of Chico. He plans to get his PCA license after he graduates and continue advocating for diversity in agriculture and agricultural literacy.