College of Agriculture

Cassandra Miguel

Agricultural Business

Cassandra MiguelWith a contagious laugh and humor that cannot be contained, Cassandra Miguel strives to never take life too seriously. The Chico State senior and 2019 Star Student in agricultural business looks forward to using these qualities and her ability to advocate for agriculture within a job in agricultural policy or economics.

Although she had an innate fondness for animals from a young age, it wasn’t until she joined Future Farmers of America in high school that a career in agriculture came to light. Through raising swine, poultry, and working with the agriculture department’s plant sales, she became more aware of the industry and built a new appreciation for it.

The Chico State campus drew Miguel in with its sense of home, and a plethora of opportunities for new experiences and academic interests.

 “Walking around the campus with the trees, the creek, and nature around me reminded me of home and I fell in love with it,” Miguel said. “I’m far enough away where I’ve had my own freedom and have grown as a person but its close enough where I can go home every weekend.”

Growing up in Davis, Miguel has always loved the saying, “family above all else,” and looks forward to each weekend as another chance to head home to spend time with her parents, brother, and animals. Balancing her time with family and attention-seeking pets, her dog, Midnight, and her cat, Chico Marmalade, Miguel always stays busy.

Initially an animal science major, Miguel loved mathematics but struggled with limiting her career path. When she learned about the opportunities within agricultural business through her elective classes, she changed her major and found a new sense of purpose and commitment to agriculture.

With the influence of faculty like professors Eric Houk and Baohui Song, Miguel has begun to form her enthusiasm for agricultural policy with specific interest in improving trade practices and appropriation of funds for agriculture.

Miguel has worked alongside Houk for the last year conducting research and compiling data for the annual report of The Contribution of Agriculture to Northeastern California's Economy. A current project with the Forest Service has Miguel compiling data and profiles from county surveys and conducting field calls and interviews.

“The faculty at Chico really wants you to succeed, and for me, knowing they believe in me is the best feeling,” Miguel said. “If it weren’t for support of the faculty, and a recommendation from Dr. Song, I would have never gotten the opportunity to work on the annual reports with Dr. Houk.”

“Cassie has been outstanding to have in class and on the project. She is a self-starter that is always willing to take on additional responsibilities and the quality of her work is excellent,” Houk said.

Miguel also praises Professor Cynthia Daley as a mentor who has provided practical advice and encouragement since Miguel arrived at Chico State.

Through the “American Environment” course (HIST 341), she has begun to build her understanding of the importance of preserving natural resources and was captivated by the impact that agriculture has had on history and on the environment as a result.

Following graduation this spring, Miguel looks forward to working in production agriculture to gain hands-on experience in the industry before working her way up to advocate for agricultural policy with the USDA or in government to serve the agricultural sector. Ultimately, she would like to attend graduate school and work for the USDA or in agricultural policy to open people’s eyes to the importance of agriculture.

“I want a job where I can change people’s perception of agriculture because it provides us all of the luxuries of life that people often overlook,” Miguel said. “I don’t know exactly where I’ll be in 10 years or how to define who I am, but I’m still growing, and that’s OK.”