The Fresno State Plant Science Club successfully defended its Presidents’ Trophy national title for its community outreach and agronomy education presentation at the Students of Agronomy, Soils and Environmental Sciences national speech contest.
The nation’s top university plant science competition was held Saturday, Nov. 3, in Baltimore, Maryland, at the tri-societies national conference for the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America.
Student agronomy clubs from the University of Nebraska and Purdue University finished second and third place, respectively. Other notable universities that competed in the 15-team field included Arkansas, Colorado State, Iowa State, Kansas State, North Carolina State, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.
Fresno State claimed similar top honors in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017.
Among the 12 Fresno State students who attended the conference, plant science club president and senior Ignacio Mendoza (Salinas) delivered the club’s presentation that also covered innovative problem-solving skills, fundraising activities and professional opportunities and industry and community partnerships.
“We were incredibly proud to represent our university and community and bring the trophy back home,” Mendoza said. “This award reflects another productive year by our students, and we owe tremendous thanks to our many community partners and the many sponsors who made this trip possible. Special thanks also go to plant science department staff member Marlene Miyasaki, who is so instrumental in assisting our students and club in so many ways.”
In the past year, the club participated in over 20 outreach events at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve, campus and community farm plots, FFA Field Day judging contests, elementary student visits and other campus club and other community events.
Students also attended and presented their campus research at state and national conferences, held a career fair and industry dinner, and invited industry professionals to speak at their chapter meetings.
In other conference events, senior Vivian Maier (Belmont) and junior Rosio Bravo (Salinas) entered the research poster competition, while other students competed in a quiz bowl and crop judging competition.
Other students who traveled to the event to attend research presentations and sessions for career planning, community outreach and grant writing included seniors Jorge Calva (Salinas), Jose Delgado (Gonzales), Eliseo Flores (Soledad) and Leonardo Zamora Medina (Salinas); junior Rosio Bravo (Salinas); and sophomores Lilian Reyes Solorio (Livingston) and Sandra Gaylord (Ivanhoe).
Travel expenses for Mendoza were covered by the American Society of Agronomy after he was named a Greenfield Scholar by the American Society of Agronomy and International Certified Crop Adviser program last July. Remaining students received travel funds from Associated Students, Inc., Gar and Esther Tootelian Charitable Foundation, Naturipe, Bayer Crop Science, plant science career fair industry sponsors and Dr. Dexter Extrada.
“The conference was a wonderful experience for students to interact with industry leaders and future agronomy stewards,” Mendoza said. “Over 2,000 of the most brilliant minds in agronomy from all around the world came together to continue to enhance our agricultural productivity in a changing climate.”
For more information on the conference, visit www.acsmeetings.org.