College of Agriculture

Daniel Casas

Student standing in orchard.

Daniel Casas has dedicated his time and effort on campus to academics, employment, and extracurricular activities with impressive leadership and work ethic. He is graduating this spring with a major in agricultural education and a focus on mechanics, and he has been named the College of Agriculture’s 2022 Star Student. 

Casas is originally from Oakdale and grew up in the Central Valley, where he attended Modesto Junior College before transferring to Chico State. He was initially interested in the medical field, but ended up enrolling in agriculture classes and discovered a passion. Casas first chose to major in plant and soil science before making the switch to agricultural education.

“One of the main reasons why I switched my major to agricultural education is because I met so many people that benefited from their high school agriculture program,” Casas said. “I was never involved in my high school’s program, but I realized the importance and the number of opportunities it has for students. I want to be the one who encourages students to take full advantage of these opportunities.”

Casas exemplifies hard work and dedication to his academics, and he is curating his experiences at school toward his future career as a high school agricultural teacher. He also has been working in the crops and orchards at the University Farm for over a year now.

Thomas Henderson, assistant professor in the College of Agriculture, has been an influential role model for Casas. He was the first faculty member Casas talked to about switching his major to agricultural education, and he has worked countless hours in the ag mechanics shop with Henderson on a variety of projects.

“Daniel is one of the most dynamic servant leaders I have come across here at Chico State. His willingness to help behind the scenes and not seek recognition for his efforts is truly an example for all,” Henderson said. “When Daniel volunteers to work on a project or complete a task, it will be taken seriously and completed with perfection. We are honored to have Daniel in our ag ed program.”

Another important role model for Casas is Kevin Renker, farm maintenance and equipment operator at the University Farm. They work together regularly on the daily operations of a variety of crops and orchards on the Farm, giving Casas an insider’s view of the industry.

Casas has been on the Dean’s list for several semesters, and he is always willing to lend a hand at any event or activity within the College of Agriculture and the University Farm. Casas is on the awards committee for the Agriculture Education Banquet and recently helped out at the Agricultural Mechanics CDE Workout and the FFA Field Day—Casas worked with a group of students to develop a project for the sheet metal rotation for the field day.

“It was cool to see the same students from the Ag Mechanics Workout come back to the FFA Field Day to compete in agriculture mechanics,” Casas said. “Being a judge for the FFA Field Day, I was able to see how much each student learned from the workout. It was encouraging to see students so excited about their projects and all the skills they gained.”

In his academic life, Casas enjoys networking with agriculture teachers and developing relationships with high school students in the agricultural field. In his free time, he likes any outdoor activities, especially camping and snowboarding.

Casas made a positive impact on the agriculture department throughout his time at Chico State, and he will clearly make a difference in the lives of his future students. Casas is looking forward to student teaching back in the Central Valley to gain hands-on experience, and he plans on earning a master’s degree in agricultural education.