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College of Agriculture

Emily Fuller

Star Student in Agricultural Education

Emily Fuller

Emily Fuller’s personality and charisma can light up a room. However this is not what earned her the title of 2019-2020 Star Student in Agricultural Education. As described by mentors and faculty in the college, it was Fuller’s passion for students, selfless actions, and inquisitive nature that allowed her to rise to the top of her class.

Growing up in Fortuna, Fuller was never a stranger to hard work. With parents owning and operating a local restaurant, and a family background in farming and ranching, she always had positive mentors and learned how to get involved herself. After waiting her first table at the age of six, Fuller worked at the restaurant until the day she left for college in addition to being involved at home in agriculture.

“After surviving off of ranching and farming in Mexico, my grandfather decided to move to the US, and he implemented what he knew and loved to start doing the same here,” she said. “My parents always gave me the choice to be as involved as I wanted, and the stories and lessons my family told are ultimately what drew me towards agriculture.”

Following her interest in the industry, Fuller’s passion for agriculture flourished when she joined the FFA in high school.

“It really opened my eyes to all of the opportunities out there and allowed me to explore all different aspects. I had never seen almond tree before I joined the FFA and now I work in orchards every day,” Fuller said.

In addition to fueling her love for the industry, her experiences in FFA also solidified Fuller’s career path upon graduation.

“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher from a young age when playing school was my favorite activity, but I continually tried to convince myself to want to be a doctor, or veterinarian, or dentist. Ultimately, I decided to accept it when I found my ‘why,’” Fuller said “I finally realized my passion and I wanted to share it with everyone that I could. Agricultural teachers have the unique opportunity to give value to agriculture in students’ minds while helping them find their own success, however that may look.”

Upon graduating from Fortuna High School, Fuller wanted to get out of the state for school. However, after financial circumstances kept her close to home, she found a home in the agricultural program at Chico State.

“After I got to know the faculty and the people in the College of Agriculture, I knew I made the right choice. The people, the opportunities I’ve had, and the relationships I’ve built are amazing and I have no regrets,” she said.

Among the faculty in the College of Agriculture, professors Kate Moore (animal science) and Alyssa Schager (agricultural education) played a key role in developing Fuller’s teaching philosophy.

“In ‘Introduction to Animal Science’ (ANSC 101) with [Moore], she really opened my eyes to facilitation strategies in the lab and had this amazing teaching style. I went in with some knowledge and you think you know something but then she shows you the big picture,” Fuller said. “[Schager’s] teaching style, theory, and investment in her students has been really influential as well and I could only hope to be like her in my teaching career. Who she is as a person and her commitment to her values and family has made her one of my biggest role-models, in and out of school.”

“Emily’s perpetually positive outlook is contagious, and I’ve loved having her in class. She always greets others with a genuine smile and asks thoughtful questions. She’s an active listener who truly cares about others. Her personality coupled with her intelligence, talent, and drive will make her an exemplary agricultural teacher and I’m excited to see her perform in the classroom,” Schager said.

Like Schager, Fuller has already begun to fill her role as a mentor through volunteering at Manzanita School with elementary school children and as a garden leader at Parkside Elementary. In addition, through working at the organic dairy unit, involvement in the agricultural sorority Sigma Alpha, an active member of CFFA, CCA, YCA, and YF&R,  volunteering for the FFA Field Day, teaching workshops at the State FFA Leadership Conference, and facilitating regional FFA officer trainings, Fuller’s involvement goes beyond that of a typical college student.

“I always do my best when I’m really busy and have a full schedule because I never want to regret anything. I tell myself, do what you can, while you can,” she said.

Gaining industry experience to carry into her future classroom has also been a priority for Fuller. After working at the organic dairy at the Chico State University Farm for three semesters, Fuller took her experience abroad to intern at a dairy operation in Australia for a summer.

“The whole thing was very out of my comfort zone, but I grew professionally, personally and technically in the industry, and it has given me a unique perspective to share with my students one day,” she said. “It’s so important to have that passion for the industry that you can draw from and relate content in the classroom to real-life experiences.”

Through gaining experience at the Chico State Organic Dairy, Fuller also gained a mentor in Organic Dairy Manager, Darby Heffner.

“She was a person who I knew I could go to and talk about anything, giving moral support, while also pushing me to my potential,” she said.

Ultimately, Fuller looks forward to her teaching career taking whatever comes her way as a lesson.

“I love learning and want to continue learning and growing everyday. You just have to live in the moment and take whatever life throws and you and roll with it,” she said. “It’s not about what happens but how you react to it. You have to be willing to fail and to get back up and push yourself even further the next time around.”