Monthly Archives: February 2011

Meet the HCS Student Bloggers! :)

Kelly Atkinson, Fruit Science
I am so thrilled be a “blogger” for our department! This is a great way for me to express how much I love my major and also tell people about all the exciting things going on, not only in my life, but around Cal Poly. Do not be fooled! I am in no way, shape or form a writer. I misspell, I misuse punctuation, I definitely do not use correct grammar 100% of the time and I’m sure I will write about a thousand run-on sentences just like this one you are reading now.Since this is my first blog, I’m going to start off by telling you all some basic, yet important, facts about myself. First off, my name is Kelly Atkinson. I am currently a fourth year student, and not quite ready to graduate (I love it here too much!)  I am a Fruit Science major, with an Agribusiness minor. I was born and raised in Bakersfield, California. It is a wonderful place and I loved it while I was there, but I am so thankful to be in San Luis Obispo. I am a member of Alpha Chi Omega Sorority. I currently have the name “Team Mom” slash travel coordinator for the Cal Poly Women’s Volleyball Club (I am sure I will be writing about it frequently because we are midseason right now). I enjoy great food and friends and occasionally I try to be a chef (but I can’t measure up to my mama). I attend Campus Crusade, love being outside and I typically feel like I have too much on my plate most days but everything always works out for the best in the end.I love fruit science because fruit is something that I see and eat everyday!!!Anyway, I think my first blog has come to an end. I look forward to everyone reading my stories in the future! Cheers!
Mitchell Yerxa, Crop Science
What’s Up Guys!
First things first, let me introduce myself.  My name is Mitchell Yerxa and I am a 4th year Crop Science Major, with an Ag Business Minor.  I am from Colusa, CA, which is about one hour south of Chico and one hour north of Sacramento.  Some of the things that I am involved in at Cal Poly are: Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity, Agriculture Student Council, Poly Reps University Ambassadors, Associated Student Government, and the Cal Poly Water-ski Team.  I enjoy playing sports such as football, basketball, and tennis I love the HCS Department because it is a small department and I can walk into any teacher’s office and get anything I need at any time.  I love the small class sizes and knowing most everyone I go to school with.  I love the hands on learning, and being outdoors for almost every lab.
Thank you! Mitchell

Juan Chavez, Fruit Science

What’s up everyone, I would like to start this blog by giving a brief introduction about myself. My name is Juan Chavez, and I’m currently a 4th year at Cal Poly, majoring in Fruit Science. Also, I have a minor in Human Biological sciences – another fancy word for Biology!I am from Salinas, CA (AKA, the “Salad Bowl”) and was born in San Francisco CA.  So, I was born a San Francisco 49ers and San Francisco Giants fan!  I am the youngest of 3 kids. I have just 2 older brothers no sisters.  I lived in Salinas all of my life until I was accepted to Cal Poly. My hobbies are working out, playing soccer, playing football and having fun!  My interests are boxing, MMA, NFL and most importantly, school. Currently, I am involved in the Persian Club and Division 1 Intramural soccer team (we are undefeated!) We will be going to playoffs in soccer. Hopefully, we’ll win the championship.
The main reason I love plants is that there are so many positive and interesting things about them. For example, some plants can digest insects and certain fruits can boost your immune system.
I’ll keep you posted on how we do in intramural soccer and about my daily life as a college student.
Have a great week. Later.
Lexi Watkins, Environmental Horticulture Science
Hello!My name is Lexi Watkins and I am a third year Horticulture student at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.  I grew up in Southern California in Temecula.  My interests include learning anything I can about plants. I’ve played soccer competitively since I was 8 and have been refereeing soccer since I was 11.  Slack-lining has become a hobby since coming to college and I love spending time outdoors: hiking and experiencing nature.
Upon coming to San Luis Obispo, I fell completely, head over heels in love with the Central Coast and the flora present here.  I loved my plant material classes and the knowledge that came with knowing what is growing around me and how to care for them.  Floral design also became a hobby and I currently work in the Poly Plant Shop on campus, where I get to play with flowers as well as help people with their landscaping questions and plant needs.  Surrounding myself with plants creates a deep, inner peace that I feel in my soul.  There is a connection to the natural world that I love being a part of.  Using California natives in gardening and the husbandry involved has become a new passion of mine.  The classes that I get to take through my college are incredibly fun and exciting; very hands on and “Learn by doing.” The opportunities that present themselves at Cal Poly are seemingly endless and I am very fortunate that I am so passionate about my major and the options available.

Laura Shigemoto, Fruit Science












That's me at the Pom Wonderful Orchards!


Hi everyone! Here is a little bit about me:

Hobbies, interests: nature, hiking, pilates, art, flameworking and various other crafts.

Hometown: Sunnyvale, CA

Year in College: 4th

Major: Fruit Science (Biotechnology minor)

At Cal Poly, I am involved in Alpha Zeta, Plant Science Club, and Pi Alpha Xi Horticulture Honor Society.

I love how plants are a reflection of the environment and can be manipulated to suit wide scale production …fresh fruit right off the tree doesn’t hurt either.

Over the summer, I interned at Paramount Farming, in the San Joaquin Valley with a crop researcher. I studied mainly pomegranate sunburn protection and had the opportunity to handle many different gadgets, including a $2,000 infrared camera. Needless to say, my supervisor had a great deal of trust in me. Some tools of the trade (infrared gun & ceptometer):An average day on the job consisted of recording fruit surface temperatures, mapping test plots and analyzing data to evaluate kaolin clay and tree performance. A picture of pomegranates sprayed with kaolin clay and a burned fruit (this is why sunburn protection is so important!): One of the best aspects of my time spent in the valley was putting all of my knowledge from classes in action. My supervisor often asked me why I thought certain things happened and I instantly had flashbacks to classes like crop physiology, which helped me form my answers…perhaps that tree is highest yielding in the plot because it has a larger photosynthetic surface?

Although I worked and lived out in the middle of nowhere, I had a Poly network to keep me company. My supervisor and several coworkers were alumni, I had friends from classes I could visit when I passed through Bakersfield and a big sib from Alpha Zeta who lived an hour from me. I not only benefited from curriculum, but also from classmates in “the real world”.


Brean Bettencourt, Fruit Science







Peach blossoms in February at Cal Poly's Crops Unit.


Hello there! My name is Brean and I am a fruit science major with a minor in agricultural communications. I am from Turlock, California and grew up on a dairy/farm operation. My hobbies/interests include running, sports, working with kids, fashion, shopping, scrapbooking, culture, the beach, reading, coffee shops, farmer’s markets, baking, cooking (okay, okay — anything with food, for that matter!), and travelling (especially to Europe!). When it boils down to it, I’m all about 3 main things: people, agriculture, and faith!


In Sevilla, Spain, orange trees are planted throughout the city & harvested to make Sevila's famous marmalade!

I have always had an appreciation for crops and farming (my dad is a particular alfalfa & oat farmer that I adore!) but really feel head over heels when I began to work for a family friend who is also a farmer. He grows stone fruits, nuts, and vegetables in Turlock, my hometown. Over the summer, I travel to Bay Area farmer’s markets and sell the most amazing, sun-kissed produce to wonderful, fruit-loving foodies!

I also started my own blog about my fun experiences traveling from farm to city. You can check that out at!

Plants are truly amazing organisms. First of all, they give us air to breathe (and as if that wasn’t enough), they also produce nutrients that work miracles for our bodies. Personally, I think that fruit is nature’s candy! I am very fortunate that at Cal Poly, I am not only given the opportunity to study what I love, but encouraged to take my interests to a different level and pursue my passion for plants.Thanks for reading, catch you next time! Ciao a tutti, adiós, adeus! 🙂

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Posted by on February 26, 2011 in Uncategorized


Welcome the Cal Poly Horticulture & Crop Science Blog!

Greetings! 🙂 This is the BlogSpot for students in Horticulture & Crop Science at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo to share some of our experiences in this wonderful department and university!

The Leaning Pine Arboretum at Cal Poly's Environmental Horticulture Unit.

As young people interested in the wide-open world on horticulture, there are two paths we can choose: Leader. Or Follower. 

While the industry needs both to succeed, the Horticulture and Crop Science Department at Cal Poly prepares us to be an industry leader.

In the HCS Department, we don’t just sit in a classroom. We’re out in the fields, groves, greenhouses, nurseries, and arboretum. We get our hands dirty. We soak up the life-giving California sunshine. And we sweat. It’s all designed to give us the knowledge, skills, and experience it takes to make a real difference in the world.

While doing this, we learn the science behind the practice. We discover real-world solutions. We collaborate with leading edge industry professionals. We even have fun and make life-long friends.

And through it all, we unlock a broader spectrum of possibilities than we ever thought possible.

All this occurs in an environment where we sit down and discuss our interests, our challenges, and our dreams with an extraordinary professor who cares about our success. A person who’s not just our professor, but our advisor and mentor.

“We are ready to be leaders, and HCS helps us to make it happen.”

Cal Poly Horticulture and Crop Science. Learn. Do. Lead.

The Horticulture and Crop Science Department at Cal Poly offers us as students an opportunity not just to learn, but learn by doing. As students, we benefit from a broad spectrum of opportunities ranging from hands-on experiences in our working fields, groves, nurseries, and greenhouses to real world applications through internships and other collaborations with our industry partners. We also excel in providing a foundational plant science background and instilling a passion for plants as we produce the next generation of leaders in the agricultural and environmental plant sciences. The major of Agricultural and Environmental Plant Sciences (AEPS) offers 7 different concentrations: Crop Science, Fruit Science, Plant Protection Science, Ornamental Horticulture, Turfgrass & Sports Field Management, Sustainable Landscape Management & Design, and Greenhouse & Nursery Plant Production.
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Posted by on February 24, 2011 in Uncategorized