College of Agriculture

Josh Roter

Animal Science

When Joshua Roter first graduated high school in Simi Valley, attending Chico State as an animal science major was far from the plan.

A biomedical engineering major, Roter planned to attend California State University, Northridge. But during his second semester, his world was turned upside down when his mother was diagnosed with cancer. Roter moved back home to be with his family, yet continued attending classes at Moorpark Community College for the following three years. Following his mother’s remission, and after changing his major to astrophysics then kinesiology, he was unsure of what his future would look like. However everything started to become clearer when his fiancé brought up a prospective career in veterinary medicine.

“I always took in stray animals that needed help, loved riding horses, and grew up helping my friends with branding cows—but I never imagined a career doing that,” Roter said.

When he got to Chico, the animal science program was not what he had expected. An emphasis on large animal production agriculture was apparent, but through the exposure, Roter gained a new realization of the industry.

“I was shocked at the focus of livestock production when I got to Chico,” he said. “I thought there would be more of a balance with small animals, but it gave me a new appreciation for livestock and I now understand why such an emphasis was needed.”

With the desire to attend veterinary school, Roter thought that the best way to get over the blood and guts was to jump right into his newfound major. His first semester, he obtained an internship at Chico State’s Meats Laboratory which has benefited his understanding of anatomy, livestock production, and food safety.

Following his internship in fall 2017, Roter was hired by the Meats Laboratory technician Haydn Clement and has maintained employment for the last two years.

“Josh approaches even the most basic tasks with attention to detail and a positive outlook, and has always been a valuable part of the team,” Clement said. “Welcoming and genuine with customers, Josh is a great example of a young person with legitimate kindness for everyone he interacts with.”

To further his experience in veterinary medicine, Roter has worked alongside lecturer and veterinarian Joshua Brownfield and his practice since the fall of 2017. As a veterinary assistant, Roter worked at Brownfield’s clinic, went on ranch calls, and helped with brandings at his ranch.

“I really got to see the number of opportunities there are in the field and learned what it really means to be a vet day-in and day-out,” Roter said.

In addition to the opportunities Brownfield provided, Roter references professors Kasey DeAtley and Celina Phillips as providing him constant support. Being a smaller college, Roter was surprised with the Chico State faculty’s willingness to help each student individually.

“Kasey and Celina were the first to really open up to me as a transfer,” Roter said. “They really cared and were approachable as faculty and individuals. All of the faculty are just down-to-earth and have really guided me on my path to vet school.”

On his experiences at Chico, Roter said that being thrown into livestock production and challenged in hands-on labs is what helped him maximize his learning.

“In ‘Animal Science 101,’ lecturer Kate Moore really just threw us in and introduced us to everything that makes up animal science,” Roter said.

In an effort to display his knowledge gained through academics, while representing the College of Agriculture, Roter recently competed at American Society of Animal Science’s Academic Quadrathalon. In April, the team travelled to Moscow, Idaho to compete in the Western Section Competition where they placed sixth. The contest is made up of four parts including an oral presentation, practicum, examination, and quiz bowl.

“Competing and traveling with my team was a lot of fun. I definitely came out of it with four new friends,” Roter said.

When he’s not at school or working, Roter enjoys going to the gym and practicing his shot at the shooting range.

“I’ve always been so academically driven and don’t do a lot else, but I’m looking forward to being done and living my life,” he said.

Although he has a busy daily schedule, Roter is always sure to make time to talk to his parents and two younger sisters every day. Along with his family, a main driving force in his life has been his long-time girlfriend, now fiancé, Brianna Visage. An animal science major at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Visage has been Roter‘s constant support for the last 10 years.

Following graduation, Roter looks forward to applying to the Health Professionals Scholarship Program through the Army to complete veterinary school and eventually work as an Army veterinarian.

“From a younger age, I always wanted to serve the country, so being able to do that while pursuing my interest in caring for animals is really the best of both worlds,” Roter said.