CSU, Chico

Taylor LaRossa, Agriculture Business

Taylor LaRossa, Agriculture Business

Taylor LaRossa, a senior majoring in agriculture business, has deep roots in farming and ranching. The Escalon native knew that she would find like-minded friends within the College of Agriculture at California State University, Chico. So when she arrived on campus as a freshman, LaRossa pushed herself to branch out and try new things outside of her agricultural heritage. She soon found her way to the Gamma Phi Beta sorority, where her leadership qualities have translated into academic and career-driven success.

In her second semester at CSU, Chico, LaRossa made a decision to go through sorority recruitment, and since then, has blossomed as a leader and member of Greek life on campus. LaRossa’s decision to join a sorority quickly allowed her to gain leadership opportunities within the organization and has influenced her role both inside and outside of the College of Agriculture.

LaRossa’s appreciation of agriculture traces back to her grandparents. She grew up visiting her mother’s side of the family, going to their cattle ranch in Farmington. Her father’s side of the family were farmers. Her grandpa grew sugar beets, asparagus, tomatoes, and alfalfa, primarily in Stockton. With the support of her parents and grandparents, LaRossa jumped into countless agricultural opportunities.

She joined both 4-H and FFA, where she joined clubs and teams and competed in speaking and judging events. Her time in 4-H and FFA influenced her potential college options, and when it came time to apply, LaRossa looked into CSU, Chico and CSU, Fresno. After attending numerous livestock judging contests on each campus, and finally being accepted to both schools, she eventually chose CSU, Chico because she fell in love with the community, campus, and college-town feel in Chico.

“I also knew that Chico had a very strong College of Agriculture, which also helped aid my final decision,” LaRossa said.

While she knew she wanted to stay in agriculture, LaRossa chose agricultural business as her emphasis.

“It started out as a ‘we’ll try this out’ kind of thing, but once I finished my freshman year at Chico I fell in love with the College of Agriculture and knew I was going to graduate with a degree in agricultural business,” she said.

LaRossa immediately got involved on and off campus starting her freshman year, and her passion to get involved has remained, as she continues to be part of various clubs and associations while working on campus and completing an internship.

Rushing and joining a sorority at CSU, Chico, quickly became a large part of LaRossa’s college life. After a semester as an active member of Gamma Phi Beta, she ran and was selected to serve as administrative vice president (AVP) within her chapter, one of six executive positions in Gamma Phi Beta. In her junior year she was elected as president of the sorority. LaRossa dedicated 20 hours per week to her executive positions within Gamma Phi Beta and continues to stay actively involved in the sorority.

LaRossa recently became a member and public relations vice president of the Chico State Republicans Club. In the 2014 midterm elections, LaRossa worked for several political campaigns, attending campaign events, educating the public on candidates, working the phone banks, and carrying out any other necessary jobs. All candidates that LaRossa interned for ended up winning their individual elections.

LaRossa worked as a teacher’s assistant and student grader for Professors Jacob Brimlow and Baohui Song in the College of Agriculture, and serves as a district intern for State Senator Jim Nielsen in his Chico district office.

LaRossa loves the family feel found in the College of Agriculture and credits the atmosphere to the relationships she has with professors and classmates, with whom she plans to remain in contact even after graduation. Her favorite classes have been Brimlow’s agricultural price analysis, and agricultural issues taught by Professor Mollie Aschenbrener.

“I walked out of each class feeling like I learned something that day, and that’s an awesome feeling,” she said.

If there was one piece of advice LaRossa could share with her fellow students, it would be not to forget what they learned in the classroom, and to put their knowledge to use when they leave school.

“It is up to us to make a difference for agriculture,” she said. “We are the future.”

LaRossa has received the California Women for Agriculture Scholarship four years in a row, along with the Escalon Fair Boosters Scholarship, Escalon Ag Boosters Scholarship, and the John Ciappe Memorial Scholarship. On top of her hours dedicated to outside activities, LaRossa maintains a 3.4 GPA.

In five years, LaRossa hopes to have a well-established career and will be working hard to get where she wants to be. LaRossa’s plans involve, “Devoting my early 20s to working on my career and myself. Once that is established, I’ll hopefully start thinking about having a family.”

Taylor LaRossa continues to work hard and gain experience. Part of her mindset she credits to CSU, Chico and the College of Agriculture.

“I have learned a lot about myself these past four years. I know what I am good at, what I don’t like, the kind of person I am, who I work best with, how I work best, etc.,” she said. “Maybe it’s just a part of growing up, but I think I owe a lot of that to my time here at Chico, both in and out of the classroom. I am very happy with my decision of choosing Chico State and I am extremely proud of walking out of here with a degree from the College of Agriculture this coming May.” 

When it comes down to it, LaRossa’s leadership, professional, and life skills have come from her involvement in so many different aspects of college life. After initially opening the door to Greek life, LaRossa dove into countless opportunities that have provided her direction towards her career and her future, that will serve her far beyond graduation this May.