Each week, we showcase one of our CAHNRS Ambassadors, a student leadership organization that encourages students to pursue higher education and serves as a liaison between the college and the greater community. This week, we’re featuring Rebeca Velasquez, a junior from El Salvador.
What are you studying?
I’m majoring in Food Science.
The Good Place
Favorite Cougar Tradition:
My favorite Cougar tradition is the world-wide Coug spirit. When I came to WSU for the first time, I was astonished by the love that Cougs have for WSU. Alumni, undergraduates, graduate students, staff: everyone seemed to love WSU and other Cougs. Even people who are not from WSU, but have friends or family here, seem to love it. The Coug logo and love for WSU can be easily found all around not only Pullman and Washington State but the entire world. One time my mom was wearing a WSU t-shirt in an airport in China. As she was walking, she heard someone say “Go Cougs!” Then she turned around and saw a group of young people also wearing Coug gear. She was surprised that she could find Cougs so far from Washington, but with the same Coug spirit. We support each other in good and difficult times. I am proud of being a Coug and that’s something that will never change.
Favorite CAHNRS Commodity:
There are many commodities I like from CAHNRS, however my favorite are cheese and ice cream. I love pretty much every product from Ferdinand’s, but those two are what makes Ferdinand’s so unique. When I worked in a laboratory above Ferdinand’s, I would go get ice cream at least once a week. The ice cream has a rich flavor and the consistency is creamy. Cougar Gold Cheese is the most famous commodity in WSU, almost everybody seems to love it. People who do not go to Pullman frequently, like alumni and some parents, are always asking current students to get them Cougar Gold. This is a perfect gift for the holidays. While I love consuming these products, I am also very interested in how they are made. As a food science student, I see the processes that Ferdinand’s uses to make ice cream and cheese. I can tell that they really produce the best for their customers.
Why be a CAHNRS Coug?
Being a CAHNRS Coug helped me meet many new people. They are my friends, peers, staff, professors; each of which has taught me a ton. There are many fun and productive ways in which you can meet people around campus such as getting involved with one of the many of the clubs on campus. In these clubs, there are many opportunities for professional growth through volunteering, touring companies, attending talks and participating in team-building workshops. Almost all the majors in CAHNRS related to agriculture, food, humanities, or industry have a variety of clubs. Through leadership positions and being active in these clubs, students can develop their leadership skills and confidence to then carry to other events on campus. These events help to introduce you to more people and connect you with more opportunities for professional growth. CAHNRS helps students connect with each other to work together for a better future. The skills we learn together lead us to more opportunities and success in our careers.
Best Student Experience:
As a science major, I am really interested in hands-on learning experiences and research. CAHNRS gave me the opportunity to do my own undergraduate research alongside a PhD student. While I get paid for helping this student with his research, he also mentors me while I do my own research. I plan on presenting my investigation in the Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA) with a poster explaining my investigation. If the judges consider my research adequate, I could receive a scholarship for my research. Working in the laboratory allows me to better understand the concepts that I hear in my classes while also providing hands-on learning experiences. All-in-all, it is very rewarding working in the lab. Working alongside graduate students has also inspired me to go to graduate school, so whether that is my path, or I enter the work force, I am grateful for all the experiences that laboratory work has provided me.
CAHNRS Taught Me:
Washington State University and CAHNRS have given me many opportunities for personal and professional growth. They provide students with a great amount of opportunities such as research projects, conferences, national competitions, scholarships and internships that often result in job offers. I have gladly taken advantage of most of these opportunities. Recently a group of CAHNRS students and I attended the AFA Leader’s Conference in Kansas City. At this conference, I was able to meet a lot of students from universities from all over the United States which helped me see things in many different perspectives, while also making new friends. My favorite part of this conference was being able to meet representatives from food companies that I am interested in. I had the chance to have meals with them, where we had a lot of meaningful conversations. Those conversations helped me see the perspective from their companies on a variety of topics such as what problems the food industry is facing and what they would like to improve about their products. All that information is very important for me to know, because I know what their concerns are, and I could start learning more about those topics now by talking to my professors and reading literature on the topic. A big personal goal is going to graduate school, and if I know what problems the industry is facing, I can come up with possible solutions while in graduate school.