By Carmen Chandler, CAHNRS Academic Programs
Daisy Arias, a recent graduate who studied fruit and vegetable management and field crop management recounts her experiences in college and goals after graduation.
When applying to universities, Daisy was unsure of what she wanted to do. After her first internship in high school, Daisy’s interest piqued for agriculture. She was fascinated with the potential for growth within the industry, and how quickly agriculture is evolving. Washington State University’s Integrated Plant Sciences programs offered Daisy the opportunity to further explore her newfound passion.
Daisy, an Entiat Washington native, grew up around apple orchards and agriculture with parents working in the agricultural industry. She aims to contribute more to agriculture by improving the system for farmworkers and fruit growth. Daisy is also passionate about contributing to the field by changing the narrative for women in agriculture.
As a woman of color in agriculture, Daisy has faced barriers at the start of her career in what is often a male-dominated field.
“You’re looked down upon, you’re not able to compete against these men,” Daisy said.
But Daisy found a way to affect change. Being a minority in STEM encouraged Daisy to join WSU’s Team Mentoring Program. She began as a mentee in her freshman year and was a mentor her final three semesters. With this program, Daisy advocated for minorities at the university and further explored her passion to advocate for women in agriculture.
“The program has shown me that I do have a voice, and my voice does count,” Daisy said.
Daisy has interned with a major agricultural company for the past two summers and was immediately employed after graduation as a research associate. She believes her experiences advocating for minorities have empowered her to speak up for herself in a professional setting.
Graduating with a WSU degree in fruit and vegetable management and field crop management opens students up to numerous fields within the industry.
“I have a friend who works as a technician in the field, and I have another friend who became a manager for a hops company,” she said.
With the multidisciplinary education provided by WSU, students like Daisy are prepared for many aspects of the industry.
Daisy encourages others to enter the field anywhere they can. “It doesn’t matter where you start, you can always grow from there.”