Not many student assistants on the Fresno State campus farm work at units as different as the meat science laboratory and the horticulture nursery, but, for Cameron Standridge, it makes perfect sense.
Standridge graduated as the Undergraduate Dean’s Medalist in the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, the highest honor in the college.
“Fresno State was the best place for me to not only work with an amazing faculty, but also get practical experience,” Standridge said. “I think it’s super important to have a wide variety of skills, and the campus farm is the perfect place to do that with its 1,000 acres and 22 units. To be an ag teacher, you have to engage so many different skills and activities that are not normal in a regular math or English classroom, so I get to be a lifelong learner, too.”
While at Fresno State, he maintained a 4.0 GPA as a Smittcamp Family Honors College scholar while advocating for agricultural outreach on campus and in the community.
As a sophomore he served as president of the college’s largest student organization, the FFA Field Day committee, which plans nearly 40 state judging contests for over 3,000 students from across the state. He returned the next year to serve as an adviser, and joined the Jordan College Honors Research Cohort. As a senior he started the agricultural education and communication club to create new ways for students to network with professionals and develop teaching skills.
He capped his senior year by presenting his research that examined public perception of agriculture as urbanization increases.
He created a 39-question survey of students in the “Animals in Society” general education course and focused on issues related to animal health, biotechnology and agricultural ethics. His results gathered before and after students took the class showed how much attitudes, knowledge and perceptions changed over the course of the semester.
That passion for education also made him an ideal campus counselor for a summer ag camp for youth ages 7 to 11 years old, as well as the USDA Ag Discovery Camp that gave an intense two-week experience to high school students from across the country in June 2019.
“Watching the light bulb go on in their heads when they see where their food comes from, and all the steps in between is important for the next generation,” Standridge said. “They reinvigorate you with this energy, and it reminded me that if I did this every day for the rest of my life it wouldn’t feel like work.”