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Animal Sciences grad Willy Navarro: Let nothing come between you and your dreams

Navarro, seated on outdoors bench, with dog.
Growing up amid Washington agriculture, Willy Navarro overcame challenges and doubters to achieve his degree in animals sciences at WSU. His pet pit bull terrier has helped him deal with stress, and met most peers in the department.

Willy Navarro, a first-generation Animal Sciences graduate from Royal City, has learned the value of hard work, supportive faculty, and belief in yourself.

Navarro was born in Arizona, raised in Mexico until age 8, then returned to the U.S., moving to Washington as a 10-year-old. When Navarro was 11, his father, Guillermo, died.

“It was probably the toughest hardship I have ever endured,” he said. “My mother raised me and my sister on her own. I had to come to college to pay her back for everything she has done for us.”

He grew up working in the apple orchards, farms, and feedlots of central Washington. A job at a feed yard sparked an interest in animal wellness, and Navarro decided, against his own doubts, to go to college. A past recipient of CAHNRS’ Dean’s Excellence Fund, Navarro worked hard and earned his bachelor’s degree this May.

“I’m a first-generation college student, so graduating means the world to my family and myself,” he said.

Unfortunately, the COVID emergency has prevented Navarro’s family from coming to see him graduate in person—Navarro plans to work this summer on a Bering Sea fishing boat to help pay college expenses.

He’s set his long-term goal on veterinary studies, but now seeks a job in cattle production.

Navarro is most interested in nutrition and reproduction, and his education and experience allows him to approach challenges in the cattle industry with an open mind able to solve problems.

“Getting an education made me more financially mature, and made me become a team player,” he said.

Navarro, seated on rock, playing guitar.“I’ve had the best five years of my life thanks to the Animal Sciences faculty and staff,” Navarro added. “Everyone showed incredible support, and they were always there when I needed them. One thing that really stood out is the dedication and passion professors have to educate their students.”

Navarro advises peers who may be unsure about going to college: “Go for it!

“I was not the best high school student, and am not the best college student, but everything is possible with hard work and determination,” he said. “At the end of the day, it is you against the world. Do not let anything come in between you and your dreams.”