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College of Agriculture

Victor Medina

Animal Science

He may not be the best test-taker or always be at the top of the class, but Victor Medina prides himself on his ability to work hard and be self-motivated through every difficult task he encounters. His favorite quote, attributed to singer-songwriter Frank Ocean, leads him in this pursuit: “Work hard in silence, let your success be your noise.” A very serious and poised leader, Medina puts the time in and loves getting his hands dirty in agricultural experiences. These qualities are what define Medina and his nomination as the 2018 Star Student in Animal Science.

Medina grew up in Perris, California, the oldest of four children. Here, agriculture wasn’t an integral part of his life, but every summer he visited his grandparents’ ranch in Mexico, where he helped manage cattle starting when he was eight years old. These short trips initially sparked his passion, which he was able ignite through further exploration.

In high school, the Future Farmers of America (FFA) provided Medina the opportunity to “try on” what he wanted to pursue in college. Getting his livestock fix, he raised market hogs for two years and helped a friend with his livestock in rodeos. His FFA advisors provided the realization that a career in this field was somewhere Medina could thrive and follow through with the passion he found at a young age. In 2013, Medina’s first visit to Chico State for the FFA Field Day on the veterinary science team gave him the confirmation he needed.

“Being on this campus, it just felt right and I realized this is where I needed to be,” Medina said.

During his tenure at Chico State, he became immensely involved in the Young Cattlemen’s Association (YCA). Medina served as YCA’s Inter-Club Council (ICC) representative his junior year and its membership committee chair his senior year.

The experience that most greatly impacted Medina’s experience at Chico State took place at the University Farm at the Organic Dairy Unit. He began working at the dairy in the spring of 2015, working during the school year and summer months, and today he serves as the herdsman, overseeing the unit. His time at the dairy gave him the hands-on experience he yearned for but also the ability to network and find a field where he could see himself pursuing a career.

At the dairy, Medina has formed strong relationships with organic dairy manager Darby Heffner and professor Cindy Daley. He says that Daley opened his eyes to new realms of cattle production but also provided a mentor he could always rely on. Heffner similarly was a figure who pushed Medina to succeed, with a relationship built on trust.

“They always believed in me and pushed me to do what I wanted to do, even if it wasn’t specifically in dairy,” Medina said.

“Victor embodies all that we could possibly want in a student. He's willing to learn, and he takes advantage of opportunities outside of the classroom that build confidence and skills,” Daley said. ”His unassuming style, dig-in-and-just-get-it-done attitude, and positive outlook on all things were key indicators that he would make a great leader for our team.”

In addition to Heffner and Daley, Medina also looks to several other faculty in the College of Agriculture and credits them with his ability to succeed. He references professors Dave Daley and Kasey DeAtley as positive role models he has looked up to and instructors Thomas Henderson and Alyssa Schager as constant pillars of support. Former lecturer Wes Schager held an integral role in defining Medina, with a dedication to his values but also his ability to just chat.

“[Our talks] didn’t always have to be about school or cattle. He was always there for me, no matter what it was about.” Medina said.

Victor is a hard-working individual that balances a technical skill set and strong interpersonal skills. He is driven, hopeful, and trustworthy.” Schager said,” [Victor] was always engaged in class, asked thoughtful questions, and made real connections with his peers and professors alike.”

Alyssa Schager agreed.

“Without a doubt, Victor has been personable, respectful and kind since his first semester and it’s been a rewarding experience to witness his growth both professionally and personally,” she said.

The biggest supporters, though, are his parents, Medina said. Their ongoing support and push has helped him to succeed.

In his free time, Medina looks forward to getting outside with the cattle. He loves roping, branding cattle, and rodeos. Outside the cattle world, he also enjoys golfing and hanging out with friends to watch football and cheer on the New England Patriots.

When describing the College of Agriculture, Medina says that the personal connections he was able to make were the most beneficial. The faculty are a part of a close community with branches in every aspect of the industry, and he credits this diverse network with the ability to obtain the experiences he did.

“Get your foot in the door with the faculty, work hard, and get noticed, and the opportunities will fall into your lap,” he said.

He also credits the agriculture seminar class (AGRI 301) with opening his eyes to all of the opportunities and diversity California has to offer. He was able to see firsthand the industry that is the backbone of the growing population while networking with his peers and industry representatives.

To further his industry experience, Medina obtained several internships over his academic career that helped intensify his passion. In 2016, he worked at a commercial organic dairy operation in Oregon, and in 2017 he interned at Harris Ranch.

Following his passion for cattle production, Medina has accepted employment with AgriBeef upon graduation this spring. His position is based at Snake River Farms in Idaho as a manager trainee to assist in the management of a commercial feed yard. Medina describes the company as very diverse, with reach in many facets of nutrition, cow-calf operations, wagyu bulls, and pork, and he expects to professionally mature alongside the growing company.

Through his career, Medina hopes to continue involvement in the state and national cattlemen’s associations. Ultimately, he plans to raise his own herd of cattle in the United States and in Mexico. He also looks to potentially own his own bucking bulls alongside his commercial herd.

“My passion for the industry runs deep and I plan to take advantage of every opportunity that it presents,” he said.