CSU, Chico

Elisa Pearson-Gomez, Agriculture Business

Elisa Pearson-Gomez, Agriculture Business

Growing up in Healdsburg, California, with a background of commercial farmers on one side of the family and migrant farm workers on the other has given Elisa Pearson-Gomez perspective into traditional ways of farming, influencing her decision to study agriculture with an emphasis in sustainability. She is determined to educate others about sustainable practices and came to California State University, Chico, to earn a degree in agriculture business, with an emphasis in sustainability and minors in environmental sciences and Spanish.

Pearson-Gomez’s unquestionable passion for her community came long before her educational journey in sustainability. With strong community ties, knowledge of both Spanish and English, and a desire to volunteer, she has been making everlasting impressions on those within her hometown for years.

Starting at a young age, Pearson-Gomez volunteered in the Migrant Education summer school program in the Healdsburg Unified School District, teaching English to migrant farm children for six years.

 “Learning the beauty of volunteering at such a young age gave me a foundation of being a lifelong volunteer,” Pearson-Gomez said. “I think some of my proudest accomplishments have been helping people as a bilingual volunteer.” She continues to help translate at immigrant community meetings and trainings within her community.  

In addition to summers spent teaching and volunteering with children, she took a particular interest in spending time with the elderly at the Healdsburg Senior Center after her grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Pearson-Gomez’s ambition to serve others undoubtedly translates into her future plans. Her experiences with programs such as 4-H, the Future Farmers of America, Santa Rosa Junior College’s Sustainable Agriculture class, and Tomorrow’s Leaders Today originally sparked her interest in pursuing sustainability, and attending Santa Rosa Junior College’s Sustainable Agriculture Summer Academy furthered her interests.

Pearson-Gomez was selected as one of 20 high school students from Sonoma County to participate in the Sustainable Agriculture Summer Academy. She recognizes that her experience with the academy’s hands-on projects solidified her desire to study sustainable practices, after learning effective practices and techniques in the area of soils, compost, greenhouse plants, row crops, vineyards, poultry, and livestock. She entered college with the insight and goals of working to remediate pollution sites, improve the natural environment, and provide healthy water, air, and land, while teaching others to do the same.

“With technical innovation, responsible farming, and environmental stewardship, we can protect our natural resources,” Pearson-Gomez said. “However, education is key to ensuring my generation and others to come understand how each of us must play an integral part in protecting our environment.”   

Agricultural organizations have awarded Pearson-Gomez for her determination, as she has received the Alpha Gamma Rho Scholarship for the 2014 and 2015 year, the Dry Creek Valley Association Scholarship, and the Americo Raranelli Memorial Scholarship.

Pearson-Gomez says upon graduating college she will serve with the Peace Corps, where she will continue to share her knowledge with others about alternative methods of agriculture production.

 “I understand giving is receiving,” she says. “And if you ask (where I’ll be) in 50 years, I’m confident I will say the same.”