College of Agriculture

Aaron Becerra-Alvarez

Star Student in Crops, Horticulture & Land Resource Management

It wasn’t his upbringing in Anderson Valley, surrounded by vineyards, that led Aaron Becerra-Alvarez to study agriculture. Although it may have seemed predestined by his surrounding community and influenced by his father’s hard work in viticulture, Alvarez never felt pushed to pursue a career in agriculture. His hands-on experiences in the FFA provided clarity for Alvarez’s destined career path but it wasn’t until a visit to CSU, Chico in his sophomore year of high school that the College of Agriculture’s 2018 Star Student in crops, horticulture, and land resource management decided that agriculture at Chico was in his future.

In high school, the FFA played an integral role in forming the identity of the star student. Alvarez raised poultry for two years and market lambs for three years while also getting involved on the school farm in the apple orchard. Here he was tasked with pruning, thinning the trees, and practicing real methods of orchard management. In 2013, a sophomore in high school, Alvarez’s agricultural projects brought him to Chico for Sheep and Goat Day. The passion that exuded from the faculty and the students drew him in.

“The faculty are so open and easy to work with and talk to,” he said. “Coming from a small town, the small college feel and closeness made for an easy transition.”

Alvarez is first of his family to attend college. Although his first visit to Chico State in high school solidified his decision, he always had an interest in attending. Not too far from home, and located in Northern California where agriculture flourishes, it was meant to be.

Upon arriving to the College of Agriculture, Alvarez was influenced by several faculty who have served as mentors throughout his studies. He mentions Professors Garrett Liles and Hossein Zakeri as being particularly inspiring.

On first meeting Alvarez, Liles said, “Aaron seemed reserved but serious about his future. He was clearly ready to take on the challenges before him and take ownership of his education.”

Alvarez credits his father as his biggest role model when it comes to work ethic and seriousness.

“He’s such a hard worker, and that’s what I strive to be. He inspires me to keep pushing,” he said.

During his time at Chico, Alvarez has made his mark through his immense involvement in clubs within the College of Agriculture. During the 2017–18 academic year, he served as president of the United Students of Agriculture Club, promoting and recognizing diversity in agriculture. In addition, he has been a member of the Crops and Horticulture Club and he has been involved in community service events in Chico and back home. Alvarez said that one of his best memories of giving back was painting an elementary school playground and mural back home with his older brother.

Alvarez is grateful for the support he has gained in order to obtain his degree. He had the honor of receiving the Chico State Agriculture Alumni Scholarship for two years and the Superior Ag Recruitment Scholarship his first year.

He credits Chico with providing him the opportunity to branch out, make friends, and become more social through clubs and traveling opportunities. He mentioned the California Seed Tour in 2017 as a stepping-stone for recognizing all of the diverse job opportunities in California.

Focused on his career and success in his academics, Alvarez has accepted an internship for summer 2018 with Ag Unlimited in Sonoma County.

Outside of his focus on academics, Alvarez enjoys hanging out with friends and family. He loves getting outdoors to hike and take advantage of the adventure Chico has to offer.

After graduation, Alvarez looks forward to earning his pest control advisor and certified crop advisor licenses and obtaining employment in Mendocino County—close to home.