Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture

Students Discover STEM-Related Careers in Agriculture

Published Date: Jul 17, 2017 5:00:00 PM

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Fourteen Cal Poly Pomona students spent three days last month touring farms and businesses to learning about STEM-related careers in agriculture.

The tour took the students to eight farms and ag businesses, mainly in the Salinas area of Monterey County. The stops included Seminis, Ocean Mist Farms, Taylor Farms, Ramsay Highlander, Fresh Leaf Farms/Mann Packing, Tanimura & Antle, Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology, and Uesugi Farms.

At each stop, students learned about different topics, ranging from crop science, soil science, breeding and genetics to innovation, technology, engineering and robotics.

For Josh Klockmann, who graduated in June with bachelor’s degrees in agricultural science and plant science, but is returning to Cal Poly Pomona to earn his master’s degree, it was the second time he had taken the tour. He was amazed how much technology was involved in vegetable production, harvesting and packing.

“The most interesting to me was an automatic transplanter of lettuce that had the baby lettuce on a continuous tape that was cut and planted in the ground at a quick speed,” Klockmann says. “This saved them many hours of labor and also the heartache of starting vulnerable lettuce seed in the ground.”

Jameson Bradford, a plant science major from San Pedro who just finished his junior year after transferring, enjoyed the networking opportunities on the trip.

“Where else are you going to be able to shake hands and talk shop with so many diverse owners and operators from agriculture?” says Bradford, who wants to become a microgreens entrepreneur.

Another student, senior Angelia Capra, isn’t even an agriculture student. She is a senior in environmental biology who heard about the tour from a friend in the Huntley College of Agriculture. The Monrovia native decided to sign up for the tour because she wants to pursue a career in agricultural or environmental consulting.

Capra was impressed with amount of hard work and innovation in every aspect of the produce industry.

“It gave me a new appreciation for the produce I eat,” she says. “This trip also made me consider the ag industry more so than before as I learned how many careers are yet to form related to innovation and technology.” 

The trip was sponsored by Western Growers and included nine students from UC Davis.