Discovering Agri-Passions

Adriana Perez | B.S. Animal Science | La Mirada, California | Alumni

@perez.adriii | Minor in Comparative International Agriculture

Diversity Commitment Award | SACNAS Chapter awarded by the College of Agricultural Science

Ground Work

My name is Adriana Perez and I love trying out new recipes and taking photos when I have free time. I was born in Long Beach California and raised in La Mirada, California. I'm an only child, but I was actually a twin my brother passed away at 4 days old, and we were both born to immigrant parents from Zacatecas, Mexico!

When I was at OSU, I was part of many different organizations and groups and I found all to be truly valuable.  I was part of LSAMP (Lead Mentor), MANRRS member, SACNAS officer - community representative, Alumna of Gamma Alpha Omega Sorority Inc., and Beaver Connect Mentor

Distinct Departments

The College of Agricultural Sciences offers so many opportunities through hands-on learning, expanding your network, and exposing students to the different sectors of Agricultural Sciences. Some of my experiences led me through fisheries and wildlife, forestry which was different from the animal sciences branch. Through these departments, I got to take a wildlife capture and immobilization course and even a Food From the Sea class too!

So many hands-on opportunities are offered in the College of Ag!  The labs, classes, and external opportunities always offered some sort of hands-on learning experience. We would go to local farms meet the farmers, oversee dissections, and even aid in data keeping for the animal units during our labs! Every class provided different ways for students to get hands-on learning!

Horses on the Horizons

 I have always loved horses, I would watch Spirit: Stallion of the Cimmaron daily for years...I have all the lines memorized. I used to collect horse figurines any way I could, I even have four of the old Wells Fargo plush horses! You can definitely say I was THAT horse girl when I was younger. I wanted to work with horses in any way that I could. I considered being a veterinarian but I never had an affinity for it so when it came down to my senior year of high school I knew I wanted to study something that would tie in my love for these animals. I decided on animal science, and through my first year I realized this degree was very different from what I imagined it to be, I began to question whether I wanted to continue this major. I decided to keep giving it a shot and with each class I took I grew to love this field more. I had the chance to do equine exercise labs, weigh broiler chicks, calculate feed rations, and much more! As my four years panned out, I realized just how many pathways existed in this when I saw the opportunity to apply to be a public policy intern in Washington, DC I knew it could serve as another gate opening for me to better grasp what opportunities lay ahead working in animal agriculture/animal health.

Canny Conferences

I wish there was more initiative or made known to push students to attend conferences, these conferences serve as a way for students to talk to industry leaders, apply to external experiences, and develop their professional skills but also allow for Oregon State University to be put "on the map". My experiences at conferences were once in a lifetime and if CAS and OSU can continue funding and pushing for students to attend state, regional, and nationwide conferences that would provide more opportunities for OSU to showcase its innovation, research, and commitment to the industry it would highlight the importance the institution's role in protecting the states and nations agricultural resources for years to come. It also highlights students' bright minds and their role in leading this charge.

Click of Connection

Pursuing a career in agriculture with no exposure and not being raised in the industry was extremely challenging to navigate. I knew I loved this field but in classes where my peers who have some ties to the industry whether that was through FFA, raised around livestock, or simply knew the industry much better then I felt like I had to play catch up. In one of my courses, I remember a professor stated, "You guys should know this when you take your horses out and they..." I immediately blanked out because I knew it didn't apply to me. It was the very little things that made me question whether I belonged in this field, I questioned whether I should continue to pursue a career in this industry all four years. I'd say this also ties into systemic issues, where one of my parents never went to college and the other did receive a bachelor's degree, ironically, in Animal Sciences but in another country. Having to learn how to navigate these simple steps made learning in the classroom a bit more difficult.

Overseeing Opportunities

I've been able to attend various conferences during my time at OSU...
- National Diversity In STEM Conference | SACNAS in San Juan, Puerto Rico
- MANRRS 37th Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia
- LSAMP PNW Regional Conference in Portland, Oregon

I loved going to these events because I got to see and share the journey with other students! We all got the opportunity to share and exchange tips and advice while bonding over love for the industry.

I've just finished an internship as a Public Policy Intern for Merck Animal Health, I am working from Washington, DC. I work with the North American public policy team in monitoring federal and state policy changes and inform them and company leadership of the potential business impact. I also get to establish a network by attending various networking lunch seminars or receptions with stakeholders that offer more insight into the industry, the current political landscape, and their role in the industry. I've been able to attend congressional hearings, meet with various business units in the company,

- policy has a huge influence on our daily lives Agriculture needs more advocacy from everyone! not just those working in DC
or in policy been so fun to see how DC works, learning how everyone's journey to DC is so different but the same
- surreal experiences walking into congressional hearings

All Paths Cross

Get involved, just take the first step and go to a club meeting! Don't be scared to say hi everyone is just as lost as you are, trust me. Don't rush into things either, if you need some days to just relax and settle into this new chapter, take all the time you need. Please also remember everyone's journey is completely different. College is one of the only times when you'll be together in one place with people who are there for the same thing, sharing similar experiences, but each person has their own individual path and
goals. So don't get caught up in everyone else's journey, take advice, and jump at every opportunity possible it builds you up to be a dynamic person that will lead you to success during and past college. Reach out for help, if you have questions, just ask we were all once in your shoes! Look for organizations on campus, whether that is LSAMP, MANRRS, or SACNAS just find a community!