Allie and Shea: Do you have any plans after you graduate?
Ashley: Yeah. What I really want to go into is in the San Joaquin Valley area, because that’s a place where I’ve learned needs a lot of resources and help. I come from a background where my family originated in Salinas and the rural part of Texas, so it just kind of reminds me a little bit with their background, not directly helping my family, but helping families that were like mine. I got super into water, water rights and water politics. I’m just trying to learn as much as I can about water-related things and focus my restricted electives on that. So I’m just trying to figure out how I can get a job/career within water, but that also relates to ag. So yeah, I’m super excited, but also scared, and nervous! In one of the seminars, PLS 190, one of the speakers talked about the San Joaquin Valley area, and just learned a lot of stuff that I had no idea, and I was mind blown, so I’ve been feeding off that since then.
A&S: How did you come to SA&FS?
Ashley: It’s funny, because I started out animal science freshman year and that was only because my mom was like “oh didn’t you like animals?” I was set on going to culinary school in Wales, because I had a scholarship there. But in high school I took all these requirements for four year colleges and stuff. But I feel like it helped, coming in with animal science and learning the big topics: livestock production, and seeing how that all works in an agricultural system. And then I got as close to the nutrition of ruminant animals, which had a great professor. So then I took an internship with the dairy management, and I was like, I really like this! I wasn’t so much a huge fan of milking, but managing the sick cows, or if the cow was ready to breed, that was really interesting to me, seeing calves birth, that was pretty cool. So from there, I talked with the animal science advisor, and the major advisor was really helpful and she showed me to the website. So then I came to SA&FS and I got super interested in Ryan Galt’s Food Systems class, which was really like a whole ‘nother world compared to animal science. Everyone just seemed, felt more like a community and like I could talk to people. I’m an introvert, and it was easier in SA&FS to have a conversation when it came to the class, or anyone in the major. I definitely started though, every single part of SA&FS, like each of the tracks, like uhhh, where do you start? How do you even pick? Because they’re all really good and practical. That’s the other thing, SA&FS is practical. So I don’t regret changing, going from Animal Science, to Animal Science Management in Dairy Cattle, to SA&FS. I learned a lot in my five years.
A&S: Do you see yourself having your own farm? Would you also have a restaurant?
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. When I was in high school, I definitely wanted a farm, with three types of animals, basically to sustainably live on my own and away from everyone. I feel like that’s still my end goal. Even right now, we have a lot of plants at my apartment. That actually, that’s always been in the back of my mind, because I still really love cooking, I really love baking, I love foods. At a time, too, I was vegan, I was vegetarian, so I know a lot of different recipes and ways to adapt to certain dietary needs while also tasting really good. [having a restaurant that can also adhere to dietary restrictions] doesn’t sound so farfetched any more, it sounds doable, a lot of people have done that already, so there’s already a good amount of resources for that. I just love to cook in general, so whenever there’s a time for me to make foods for a bunch of people, that’s what helps me get through. In the stressful times, it’s making food that is my go-to.
A&S: Well so much community happens around food.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah and I think that’s why. Any kind of gathering with most of my family is around food. And especially if anyone’s made anything homemade, that’s when everyone’s like, oo, where and when. It’s not so much, oh I’ll come around, if it’s pizza, but if it’s my grandma made pozole, then everyone’s there, within two minutes.
A&S: Is there a piece of the SA&FS community you would like to see change?
Ashley: That’s kind of hard, because I feel there’s a lot of support from SA&FS and the major. Yeah…I think, I don’t know. I like how there’s peer advisors,a lot, and that you actually know, when I don’t get what people want me to do. It’s really nice. I guess that was a big component for helping me figure out where I’m supposed to go, but also what my interests are, and that’s really important to me. Having you there to tell me what classes are harder, or difficult. Also, being able to actually meet with someone that could help me with what to do, rather than getting an email, okay do all this, I thought that experienced peer advisors was more helpful. I’ll look through emails, and I’ll star everything, but then it’s really nice to meet with someone. The peer advising position in general is pretty important, last year, when I was working more at the student farm, one of those people was in capstone, and he was like hey, you should check out the final presentations, and I was like okay cool. And going into that, I was like, oh this is how it’s supposed to be! I didn’t know what to expect, but seeing that really helped, and I feel like that should be encouraged more. So Sunday, March 19th, everyone come out!
A&S: So we always end with a fun fact. You’ve read them, and that’s the question we always keep. Anything people wouldn’t know about you, or you want SA&FS to know about you?
Ashley: I really love music. Like, ahh, it’s hard to express how much I like it. it’s as much as I like to make food, basically. It’s varied, and it starts in the 1920s, which might actually going further back with my boyfriend influence who likes the 1800s, but I love Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald, Dukes Ellington. And then I also really like, basically everything. I really don’t have a huge appreciation for Top 40, but I do appreciate that there’s a time for that. I guess my huge thing is when music is recycled. Like I just learned, Killing Me Softly by The Fugees, was actually Frank Sinatra, and I was like, what!?