College of Agriculture

Delaney Sarantopulos

Student holding a baby lamb.

Originally from Elk Grove, Delaney Sarantopulos is now a junior at Chico State and majoring in animal science with a focus on pre-veterinary medicine and a minor in chemistry and biology. She will graduate in the spring of 2023 and has recently been chosen as the 2022 College of Agriculture’s Star Student for animal science.  

It was an “Introduction to Agriculture” class in eighth grade that sparked Sarantopulos’s interest in agriculture and animal science, and she soon became a member of her high school’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) program where she joined the Farm Business Management team, gained livestock experience, and participated in several agriculture science research projects. These projects included testing plant growth by adding biochar to the soil, testing the effect of tomato paste storage by focusing on the color of the paste, and testing the differences in brightness on energy-saving light bulbs.  

Sarantopulos learned about Chico State from her FFA advisor, Mike Albiani, who encouraged her to go into the pre-vet program. She applied and committed to Chico State before even touring the campus! Her first visit was during summer orientation, where she learned about everything Chico had to offer. Sarantopulos had always enjoyed working with livestock, so an animal science program that included basic veterinary school requirements was perfect for her.  

Veterinary science allows Sarantopulos to combine her two passions: “I am learning about small and large animal practices to try to be as well rounded as possible,” she said. 

At Chico State, Sarantopulos participates in a variety of extracurricular activities. She is a member of the Chico Sheep Association, the Pre-Veterinary Club, the FFA Field Day leadership team, and Ag Ambassadors, where she will be serving as 2022–2023 secretary. She is also a peer advisor intern through the College of Agriculture’s Student Success Office, where she helps students manage their schedules and classes.  

“As an advising intern, my main job is to help students, generally first or second year, pick their classes for each semester and to make sure each student feels welcomed and supported in the college,” Sarantopulos said. “I also help with outreach to prospective students at various events through the College of Agriculture.” 

Sarantopulos has been on the Dean’s List several times, and she received the Edward and Marion Floyd Scholarship during her freshmen year. She thrives on being well-rounded in her academics, work experience, and leadership experience.  

Sarantopulos is working hands-on with livestock in her classes at the University Farm, and through her studies in the animal science program she has gained valuable skills such as how to dissect organs, the process of artificial insemination, and how to draw blood from an animal. In her biology and chemistry classes, she is learning how chemicals, bacteria, and fungi directly correlate to veterinary science.  

In a research project conducted at the University Farm, Sarantopulos tested the effects of an essential oil supplement on the rumen and digestive health of sheep. She tested their feed and feces to see the progress of this experiment. She also participated in a California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) grant-funded research project with professor Celina Phillips on respiratory diseases and hoof rot in sheep.  

For Sarantopulos, contributing to research projects on the Farm was a great way to combine animal science with proper scientific method and lab techniques. “Professor Phillips ensures that each project is easy to understand, to make sure students are receiving the full hands-on experience that will help when applying for veterinary school,” Sarantopulos said.  

Sarantopulos’s father was a huge inspiration in her life. Before he passed away when she was in high school, he was always there for her, supporting her and encouraging her success. His influence still motivates her to give everything she does her best effort. Phillips has also been an influential role model for Sarantopulos in the College of Agriculture. Phillips has continuously pushed her to do well and stay the course as she works her way to veterinary school. 

“Delaney has quickly become a leader in our animal science program. She serves as an advising intern and helps our first- and second-year students with course planning and guidance,” Phillips said. “Additionally, she actively finds ways to improve advising for all of animal science, through infographics and other methods of engaging students. Delaney has served as a peer mentor for AGRI 180 (“The University Experience”) and is always willing to help with an event.”

In Sarantopulos’s free time, she enjoys baking, crafting, and spending time with animals. She plans to follow her passion for animals and continue striving for academic success. After graduation, she would like to attend veterinary school somewhere on the West Coast and focus on both small and large animal medicine.