Arturo Barajas 2017-08-30 01:23:16
Legislative Aide, California State Assembly California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California Ag Systems Management, B.S., 2015 Hometown: Modesto, California Enjoys: the great outdoors My high school ag teacher was the first person to really show me the importance of agriculture. Agriculture is more than just farming; there are huge fields of technology and innovation, which support the people who grow the food we eat. After graduation, I went straight to Cal Poly, where I majored in ASM because of the incredible hands-on experiences offered in the BRAE department and the flexibility of career paths for future grads. I saw the Cal Poly Tractor Pull and decided then and there that I wanted to be involved in that! Being on the Cal Poly Tractor Pull Team was the highlight of my college experience. It’s not everyday that you get to drive a 1200 HP modified tractor in front of 3,000 spectators on campus, all while raising money for the Cal Poly Tractor Pull Scholarship Fund. I got neck-deep in student clubs and internships while in college. I served as President of the Cal Poly Tractor Pull Club and President of the Ag Engineering Society. I interned at a dairy, a cheese company, and a vineyard management company. I also served as the irrigator for the Cal Poly crops unit for two years, thanks to my knowledge of different irrigation systems. However, the last quarter of college I took a turning-point class—AG 452 Issues Affecting California Ag. I realized that there was a place for people with technical knowledge of ag and water to work on policy issues. Policies affect everything, and I could use my degree to help analyze policy! Not knowing what to expect, I interned with the Governor’s Office, then got hired as a legislative aide to focus on water and agriculture issues. I now work in Sacramento for an Assembly member serving on a legislative staff in policy work. (I thought I would be the only person who hadn’t studied political science, but that isn’t the case!) In addition to using my technical knowledge, I use project management skills moving through the legislative process. I am the lead on a number of bills and am responsible to our Assembly member, giving him all the information he needs for committee meetings, press conferences, or floor sessions. ASM graduates go on to serve in many different roles. So my advice? Make finding a fulfilling job a full time job. Take every interview opportunity, and remember that interviews go both ways: you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you!
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