Four Fresno State students in the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology were recognized with area ag scholar awards by 23rd District Assemblyman Jim Patterson at a ceremony at the Vincent E. Petrucci Viticulture Building.

Plant science graduate students Anthony Mele (Clovis) and Rohith Vulchi (Bapatla, India), plant science senior Aldo Garcia (Shafter) and agricultural business senior Emma Zacharias (Merced) were selected for the honor based on their passion, growth and innovation in various industries. The awards were presented on April 28.

Garcia was a member of the soil judging team that has competed the past three years at the national contest, and he has served as president of Fresno State’s plant science club, vice president of the plant health society and senior chair of operations of the FFA field day committee. He was one of six students chosen nationally by the American Society of Agronomy’s Greenfield Scholar program that traveled to Washington D.C. to advocate for agricultural research funding.

Mele is conducting his master’s thesis on improved irrigation and nitrogen-use efficiency in sugar beets — a lesser-used rotational crop that is suitable for poorer quality soils and has the potential to produce ethanol. He was one of 19 students selected nationally as a Gerald O. Mott Scholar by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America. His research poster also won first prize at the American Society of Agronomy area competition. A 4.0 student, he has been selected as an Irrigation Association E3 learner honoree.

Vulchi conducted research in creating a cost-effective and easy-to-use test for Lepidopteran insects in almond and pistachio orchards. He also worked as a research technician for the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in its entomology laboratory. Growing up in India, he worked with farmers to develop better agricultural practices through national and area agricultural extension programs.

Zacharias conducted her Jordan College honors research project on the Central Valley’s dairy industry and its state economic impact. She served as a member of the FFA state conference planning committee, agricultural business club and Alpha Zeta honorary society. She also worked with the Abundant Life Ranch non-profit youth organization.

For more information on the award, contact Alisha Gallon at or 559.446.2029.