CSU, Chico

Jenny Kaslin, Agriculture Education

Jenny Kaslin, Agriculture Education

Senior agriculture education major Jenny Kaslin is widely recognized for her involvement throughout the College of Agriculture. Her combination of organization, leadership abilities, and passion for the agriculture industry has made her a valued member of the college family.

But perhaps not as well-known is her international heritage: Kaslin is a dual citizen, of the United States and Switzerland, where her family is involved in dairy production. She is three-fourths Swiss and comes from a diverse farming background. While she grew up in Shingle Springs around swine production, her family also grows lettuce in Salinas, Calif. Her background and knowledge of the various aspects of the agriculture industry have motivated her to become an agriculture teacher to spread her wisdom.

Just as her family is heavily involved in the agriculture industry, Kaslin is heavily involved in the College of Agriculture. This was her second year serving on the CSU, Chico and Butte College FFA Field Day Leadership Team.  In addition to being on the team, Kaslin was also one of three student co-chairs in charge of orchestrating the event for 1,200 high school students from throughout California and Oregon. 

Kaslin is also active in numerous student organizations, including the Chico State Young Cattlemen's Association, where she helps host on-campus tri-tip barbeques, and Alpha Tau Alpha, a club for future agriculture teachers. Through Alpha Tau Alpha, Kaslin has presented leadership workshops at the annual California State FFA Conference in Fresno, Calif., which she says has helped her develop a sense of how to train future FFA students to be active leaders. In addition, Kaslin was involved in the College of Agriculture's fall 2012 leadership class project. The project focused on raising money for Saint Jude Children's Research Hospital in conjunction with the University's annual Up 'til Dawn fundraising event. 

Kaslin says that her favorite thing about the College of Agriculture is that it has provided her with so many opportunities to get involved and become a leader. "That is truly what our agriculture industry needs—leaders. And I think that the Chico State College of Agriculture is doing a great job of creating a strong, viable future for the agriculture industry," Kaslin said. "My education here has really opened up my mind to accept new things and given me a ton of new experiences related to the agriculture industry."

Agriculture education Professor Brad Dodson said he's had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to work with Kaslin. "I've seen her work with students, and she is just simply a natural," he said. "She recently helped us conduct our regional FFA officer training and all the kids absolutely loved her after knowing her for five minutes. She's a very sharp young lady who 'gets' high school kids and truly understands them. She's comfortable with teaching, and that alone is going to take her far in her career."

Although Kaslin is still in school working toward her teaching credential and degree, she is already getting a taste of life as an agriculture teacher. At Ponderosa High School, has been hired to help supervise all of the livestock projects for the rapidly growing FFA program in exchange for a paid stipend. She is primarily in charge of the chapter's beef, swine, sheep, goat, horse, and small animal projects. Kaslin is responsible for completing Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project visits, which require her to meet one-on-one with students to monitor their projects' progress. In addition to the project visits, Kaslin conducts FFA project competitions that test FFA members' knowledge of their various projects.  Kaslin also attends monthly fair meetings and holds biweekly showmanship practices for the FFA members to help prepare them for fair. 

"This extremely rewarding experience has given me my first insight into what being an agriculture advisor will really be like, and I wouldn't trade it for the world," Kaslin said. "I am beyond ecstatic and ready to get into the teaching field as soon as possible."

Kaslin is not only gaining practical experience for agriculture education through her stipend position, she has also been working at the University Farm office for the past two years. At the office, she is responsible for answering phones, helping customers, filing paperwork, packing products, and helping wherever needed at the farm. Kaslin enjoys her work there because it has given her the opportunity to get to know the farm staff and faculty better. She has also gained a better understanding of the different animal units and facets of agriculture production, which she plans to be able to relate back to students in the classroom someday.

Kaslin credits her high school agriculture teachers, Britta Fletcher and Lindsay Kovach, for inspiring her to pursue a career in agriculture education. Since coming to Chico, many of her professors have validated that career decision, especially Dr. Dodson.

"He has helped to open my eyes to various leadership opportunities and experiences," Kaslin said. "His knowledge and personal experiences he shares about the classroom are extremely valuable, and I hope to be able to mirror his teaching in my own classroom someday."