2012-2013 Ambassadors

BrittneyBrittney Alves

Sophomore, Klamath Falls, Oregon
BioResource Research

Growing up alongside my family’s cattle and hay ranch sparked my passion for agriculture at a very young age. Some of my favorite memories reside in trips to the ranch to check newborn calves or simply being surrounded by a hardworking farming family. In high school, my enthusiasm for the agricultural industries continued to build through involvement in the National FFA Organization, which provided countless opportunities to practice agricultural fundamentals, as well as instill the importance of agricultural education to our society. 

I’ve always known I was a Beaver Believer, and saw admission into Oregon State University as an opportunity to continue learning about agriculture and different ways to promote the diversity that it entails. In my major, BioResource Research with an option in toxicology, I am working toward a future of promoting agriculture through a medical career. I hope to bring primary patient care back to preventative medicine, and incorporation of healthy lifestyles among Americans.

As an Ambassador for Agriculture Sciences, Forestry, and Natural Resources, my hope is to promote the colleges in a way that educates and encourages continued support and appreciation of agriculture as the foundation of our country. My ultimate goal is that people will become excited and reach out to the many opportunities that this top Land Grant University has to offer.

ToddTodd Bertwell

Senior, Los Angeles, California
Forest Management

I’ve always felt more comfortable in the outdoors. Growing up in a big city, I thoroughly enjoyed any opportunity to spend time in the woods. Before leaving high school, I did not have the slightest idea of what careers would be available to me in the field of forestry beyond park ranger, but was absolutely set on studying it in college. I visited OSU, moved up to Oregon, and it has been a perfect fit ever since. My career plans have changed since starting here in 2009, but I am proud to say I am still a student of the College of Forestry.

The opportunities I’ve had the privilege to be a part of at OSU prove to me that coming here was the right decision. Even as a freshman with no previous research experience I worked as a laboratory assistant for Dr. Stephanie Yelenik. I was thrilled to contribute to a discipline which I hardly knew anything about, and I continue to work with professors and graduate students in research. In 2010 I had the experience of a lifetime while studying on exchange at the Australian National University. I learned about new cultures, met people from many different countries around the world, made lasting friendships, and traveled around Tasmania to see ecosystems and forest plantations entirely new to me. Upon returning I joined the Society of American Foresters, which has helped me network with professionals and find summer internships with timber companies.

As an ambassador I hope to encourage prospective students to take advantage of the countless opportunities for them in forestry and other natural resource related fields. I also hope to maintain the connections between the College of Forestry and other educational institutions, organizations, and companies so these opportunities will still be available in the future.

JessicaJessica Budge

Sophomore, Sherwood, Oregon
Agricultural Sciences

Ever since I can remember I have been a Beaver. Both of my parents attended Oregon State University and growing up I was always a diehard “Beaver Believer”. For me Oregon State was the perfect fit, with excellent academic programs, a beautiful campus close to home and seemingly endless opportunities. I have loved growing up in the Willamette Valley and the fact that the desert, ocean, and mountains are just a few hours away.

As I have gotten older however, I have come to gain a deeper appreciation for another aspect of our great state, the agricultural diversity. Like many students in the College of Agriculture I became actively involved in 4-H and FFA throughout middle and high school. Experiences with these organizations brought my level of interest in agriculture to a whole new level.  I became actively involved and particularly interested in the speaking events. Participation in these events helped me to realize another passion that I had, communication, specifically the communication between the general public and agriculture.

Last year, I had the opportunity to put this passion into action as I represented the Oregon dairy industry, as the 2011 Oregon Dairy Princess-Ambassador. This experience took me all across the state speaking to over 12,000 students about the benefits of dairy products and informing them about dairy farming. This position solidified my desire to work in public relations and I hope to go back to work in the dairy industry promoting the hard working farmers who produce all of the delicious dairy products.

Now, I am on another journey and I am excited to again combine three of my biggest passions: agriculture, communication and Oregon State and to promote the vast opportunities of this university. I am looking forward to an excellent year as an Ambassador for the College of Agricultural Sciences, Forestry and Natural Resources and discovering even more reasons why it is great to be a Beaver.

JonJon C. Calhoun II

Senior, North Powder, OR
Agricultural Business Management

Since being at Oregon State University, I have discovered my true interests within the agriculture industry and have excelled my drive for agriculture. I was born and raised in North Powder, OR with a graduating class of 13 students in a town that is just short of 500 residents. Although my background stocked full of livestock production from my upbringing on a Halter Quarter Horse and Club Lamb Ranch, I have taken a much different route for my career selection.

As a junior studying Agricultural Business Management with a minor in Leadership, I hope to enter the workforce as an International Grain Merchandiser. With a world population boasting 7 billion, we will have reached the 9 billion mark by 2050 – as agriculturists, we must connect the consumer and producer with twice the food, on less land, in less than four decades. I hope to become part of that vital link that will connect consumer and the producer. To kick-start this career path, I am an intern for Pendleton Grain Growers.

Throughout high-school, I was actively involved with the North Powder FFA Chapter, 4-H, and student government. Now in college, I take pride in serving as Collegiate FFA President, Agricultural Executive Council Vice-President, College of Agricultural Sciences Leadership Academy fellow, and am one of nine students from that nation selected to represent the Agriculture Future of America organization on the AFA Student Advisory Team.

As an Ambassador for Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources, I hope to leave an impact by showing perspective students that, “the small town kid” who is first in his family to attend college, can thrive in a setting of 30,000 students strong. Through hard work, determination and answering the door when opportunities knock, I hope to inspire others to make the fullest of their college career. 

EliseElise Cowley

Junior, Winnemucca, Nevada
BioResource Research and Chemistry

I grew up in the thriving metropolis of Winnemucca, Nevada where I became skilled in the fine arts of irrigating, gopher trapping and bucking bales. Winnemucca is the largest ranching area in Nevada and recently mining has also begun to play a crucial role in the area. I lived my entire life in Winnemucca until I graduated high school. I wanted to escape the entire ‘small town’ cliché so directly after high school I moved to Chicago for a year. I went from one extreme to the other. Living in Chicago shaped me in more ways than I could ever explain. It took living in one the country’s largest cities to make me realize that where I came from made me a unique individual.

I decided to embrace my ‘ranch kid’ background and attend Oregon State University. I initially started as a forestry major, but soon changed my major to BioResource Research (BRR) after talking with the academic advisor for the program. BRR is a major within the College of Agricultural Sciences that has allowed me to tailor the classes I take to match an independent research project I have been working on for three years in the College of Pharmacy. My option within BRR is Bioproducts and Bioenergy. My research project is focused on finding useful natural products from a specific cyanobacteria. I plan on attending graduate school after completing my undergraduate degrees.

The College of Agricultural Sciences has given me a great deal of opportunities and support during my three years at Oregon State. I have been able to take classes in every area of the university and partake in a myriad of hands on learning. The College of Agricultural Sciences continually challenges and inspires me within not only my academics, but my overall life.

It is an honor to be an Ambassador for Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources. I am excited to be an ambassador to share my own experiences while promoting two great colleges within OSU.

StephanieStephanie Jenck

Senior, Tillamook, Oregon
Crop and Soil Science

Even though I grew up on a dairy farm, I had a strong conviction to never want to go into agriculture when I grew up.  I was really into music and the arts - being active in band, choir, and theater.  I had never thought that I was going to end up where I am.  Instead, while in high school I was taking classes at Tillamook Bay Community College to get a jump start on college and preparing myself for attending a larger university.

It was not until I started working on my family’s dairy farm my senior year of high school that I realized how much I loved agriculture and how important it was to me!  Unfortunately, I had already made my decision to attend University of Oregon before having this realization.  It only took two months at UO to know that I was going to transfer and end up at Oregon State University in the Agriculture Department.  I wanted to finish what I started, so I finished my freshmen year at UO then transferred to OSU the following year to major in Crop and Soil Science. 

I have been happy as a clam since making my decision to transfer.  The College of Agriculture provides so many personal relationships with professors and advisors - and the activities and clubs are limitless!  I could stand on my soap-box and profess loudly how amazing this program is to anyone who is curious what OSU has to offer.  And, I have quite the nack for turning even the harshest critics into soil lovers! 

MegMeg Johnston

Senior,  Bend, Oregon
Agriculture Business Management

Growing up in Central Oregon provided me with many amazing opportunities in agriculture.  I have always had a passion for working with animals and am very grateful for all the opportunities my family and friends have provided for me in order to pursue my love for agriculture and animals.  From a very young age I began entering agriculture with entrepreneurship in mind.  Whether I was riding horses, showing livestock, traveling, or participating in FFA and 4H events, I have strived to learn as much as I can from each experience. 

Entering into high school I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in agriculture, I just didn?t know exactly what, so I packed my bags a year early and went to Oregon State University.  Being 16 in my freshman year of college had its pros and cons; however I was always encouraged by the Agricultural and Resource Economics department, friends, and family that I was more than prepared for my college career.  During my sophomore year I applied for an internship in Africa, and worked as the Small Livestock Manager for the Cheetah Conservation Fund.  I think this has been the highlight experience of my college career.  My international internship helped shape my desire to pursue a career in Agricultural Business Management with a minor in Animal Sciences.  Because I have had so many wonderful experiences and want to support the continuation or agriculture in the northwest.  I found that the Ambassadors for Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources program is the best opportunity to share my experiences and help other pursue their agricultural careers.

AlexAlex Pederson

Senior, Wilsonville, Oregon
Natural Resources

Hailing from Wilsonville, Oregon, I was raised from the age of 9 on a small farm in the greater Portland Metro Area. Growing up I was constantly exposed to the outdoors, beginning with camping adventures in the expansive chaparrals and mysterious coniferous forests of California to the more structured and intimate involvement in my local 4-H chapter. Through 4-H I raised a myriad of animals: rabbits, chickens, sheep, and dogs. This laid the foundation of my respect for agriculture and initiated my exploration of the overarching systems of our society.

With interests ranging from cultural to scientific, my path of higher education has been far from direct. After two years of exploration, I realized I wanted to dedicate myself to the health of the environment. I began with my immediate environment, embarking on my lifelong path in yoga, and then expanded my horizons by joining the College of Forestry at OSU.

I was drawn to the College of Forestry as I love trees and long to share that wonder with others. I declared dedication to fostering respect in others by utilizing the vehicle of nature. Due to this commitment, I am presently studying Natural Resources with an emphasis in Outdoor Leadership and Environmental Education. Through the Adventure Leadership Institute at OSU, I have created amazing memories and have gained lifelong skills. I have been privileged to discover my strengths as a leader in the great outdoors and aim to utilize the back country to promote healthy development in others.

I am honored to be presented with the opportunity to represent the colleges of Agriculture Sciences, Forestry, and Natural Resources because I am thrilled to share with others the incredible experiences I have had at OSU thus far. With my roundabout path of higher education, I can share valuable experiences with prospective students who may be struggling to find their path in life as I once did. I am looking forward to another amazing year at OSU as I complete my undergraduate degree while sharing experiences with new friends and creating lifelong memories.

JeremyJeremy Porter

Senior, Portland, Oregon
Forest Management

Even though I was born in a big city, I grew up outdoors. My bare feet striking pavement and the sigh of wind rushing through the leaves of the trees I climbed were the sounds of my youth. Cub Scout camping trips and weekends spent in Eastern Oregon visiting my cowboy uncle strengthened that resolve. I have been an avid Beaver fan since my earliest days, rooting for the Beavers football team through the good years and the bad. I always had a desire to graduate from OSU with a degree that would allow me to work out in the field professionally and positively for the benefit of people. Forest Management is that degree. After receiving my diploma from David Douglas High School, I attended Clackamas Community College where I received my Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree. This was a great achievement in my family since neither of my parents had pursued a college career. I paid my way through community college by working part-time at UPS loading package trailers. I spent a fulfilling year and one other fall term at OSU before I ran out of funds and was exiled into the working world until I could amass enough of a fortune to return. I spent that time period sharpening life skills, gaining real world experience in the working world, and earning wages as a seine fisherman in Alaska, as a security guard for a four star hotel, and as an OHV technician for the United States Forest Service. During that period, I also took classes part-time at PSU to continue working on my degree as finances allowed. This last fall I was able to return to OSU’s College of Forestry and have been diligently applying myself to the material.

I am humbled to have the opportunity to be an Ambassador for the Colleges of Forestry, Agriculture, and Natural Resources for the 2012-2013 school year. As an Ambassador I hope to gain leadership experience and hone my professional talents. I am excited to share my knowledge and experiences with prospective students and reinforce my relationships with faculty. I am honored with the chance to give back to the school, to be involved with a program that contributes so much to students and alumni, and to represent the college.

JillianJillian Redmond

Senior, Grants Pass, Oregon
BioResource Research/Microbiology

When I was growing up, I never dreamed I would attend Oregon State University, or even live in Oregon for that matter. I was born and raised in Southern California, in a coastal city near Newport Beach. I was not used to having all four seasons in one year. Since I lived near a desert, there was hardly any rain. Forget about snow, I only saw it once when I was growing up. When I moved to Grants Pass, Oregon, I was in for quite a shock. The first evening of my first winter there was spent playing around in the snow in my pajamas and a sweater!

I have learned a lot since then. I came to OSU to pursue a degree in Microbiology, but I will end up with a degree in both Microbiology and BioResource Research. It was probably the best choice I have made in my college career. Having this major has allowed me to do hands on research, applying what was only theory in my science labs. It is very different from what I thought research would be, and it will prepare me a great deal for graduate school. To anyone who wants a good experience doing undergraduate research, BRR is the best major to have. It is also through this major that someone like me, who had never thought much about agricultural sciences, could learn about this versatile and immensely vital science. I still cannot believe how broad and imperative it is. I’m very excited to be an Ambassador of Agricultural Sciences, Forestry, and Natural Resources so that I can share its importance with the community.

AlyssaAlyssa Weger

Junior, Brownsville, OR
Recreation Resource Management

Growing up in the small farming community of Brownsville, Oregon, I have always had a strong appreciation for the outdoors. Whether I was spending time in my family’s barn, riding horses, or hiking, I enjoyed spending as much time outdoors as possible. As a high school student, I was very involved with my school’s FFA program, where I focused mostly on the livestock aspect of agriculture. Originally, I was interested in pursuing a career that involved working with animals. It was not until I reached college that I realized I had a desire to follow a different career path. During my first term at OSU, I was introduced to the College of Forestry and their Recreation Resource Management program. After that, I was hooked. I never realized that I would enjoy teaching people about the land, or creating interpretive programs. I love the fact that I will be able to spend my days outdoors, doing anything from trail maintenance to taking visitors on guided tours. I am very excited to see where this degree will take me in the future.

As a Forestry student, I had a desire to learn more about the many aspects of Forestry. In 2010, I joined the OSU Forestry club and Logging Sports Team. I have greatly enjoyed my time so far at Oregon State and hope to continue expanding my involvement within the University. I look forward to my year, serving as an Ambassador for Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources, and am excited to help prospective students learn more about what Oregon State has to offer.