The college offers a wide range of experiential learning opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate level, connecting theories and knowledge learned in the classroom to real-world situations – a practice proven to grow student engagement, improve academic outcomes and enhance work and life skills.
Colorado Agricultural Systems Field Class
The inaugural Colorado Agricultural Systems Field Class in Summer 2022 brought graduate students to several ag research centers across the state, where they met with scientists, growers, laborers, politicians, lobbyists, and others involved in Colorado agriculture. Students also had the opportunity to learn new skills in the field, like setting irrigation pipe.
CSU Extension Summer Internship Program
23 students from the College of Agricultural Sciences participated in this program over the last two years.
The college is also a key supporter of the CSU Extension Summer Internship Program. Interns across all CSU colleges are placed throughout the state and gain experience with applied research and stakeholder engagement with regional or county-based Extension agents, including significant time in the field. Students gain an understanding of marrying state, county and university perspectives toward a common goal while Extension mentors develop enhanced connections to campus-based faculty on issues important to Coloradans.
Other Highlights Across Our College Departments
- Mentored student internships in the C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity provide undergraduates with valuable experience in research methods, data management and event planning
- The Bug Zoo provides volunteer opportunities for outreach and insect rearing.
- All Ag Biology graduate students gain lab/field research and/or internship experiences at large and small ag companies. They also present at grower and scientific meetings and publish their work.
- All undergraduates participate in at least one internship and 50% of department faculty involve undergraduates in formalized research efforts.
- Experiences with live animals are a heightened focus of the undergraduate program. Hands on learning activities about husbandry, nutrition, and health management enrich student learning and allow students to see themselves working in this field.
- Students benefit from an extensive menu of extramural activities (most including travel exposure) from competitive intercollegiate judging programs, competitive equine teams and trade-related activities. CSU continues to host Skyline Stampede, the oldest collegiate rodeo in the U.S., annually.
- The department’s graduate program presently includes 60 tudents mentored by 16 faculty advisors. Students come with varied backgrounds from multiple states and countries, creating an enriching environment of diversity. A significant portion of graduate student research is completed in commercial settings where students interact with industry leaders in meat processing plants, beef ranches, and dairy farms across Colorado and other areas of the U.S.
- Almost all Animal Science courses are built around a beef supply chain that follows beef cattle through packing and processing across multiple field research sites. The department is currently marketing a product that is co-branded with Certified Angus Beef as the product of the supply chain.
- Equine Sciences’ 2022 Legends of Ranching event generated record sale results with over 650,000 unique public marketing impressions through the sales and marketing class, hosting over 400 people.
- At the B.W. Pickett Equine Teaching & Research Center, we have employed 11 different undergraduates to manage the facility and horse care, and another 19 students supported the Equine Reproduction Laboratory breeding facility in the spring of 2022.
Agricultural and Resource Economics
- The department recently launched their Signature Works Program that adopts a systematic approach to the development of key technical and professional skills over a student’s undergraduate experience. All students monitor their progress with a faculty mentor, building toward a culminating senior-level course where they develop and present their Signature Works Portfolio. Ag Education offers credit for students from across the college to develop and deliver K-8 curriculum for the annual Ag Adventure at the National Western Stock Show.
- At the CoBank Center for Ag Education at ARDEC, aspiring agriculture teachers use the state-of-the-art shop for welding, 3D printings, electrical tools, other mechanics, and more. The students learn about ag communication and education as they provide tours of the facility to numerous diverse visitors and host numerous industry events. The site also serves as the Northern Colorado site for CAM’s Ag Academy.
- The new Data Simulation and Trading Lab in the Nutrien Agricultural Sciences Building offers students hands-on experience in generating and presenting new data visualization practices.
- Students in AREC 224 Introduction to Agribusiness Entrepreneurship develop a new business idea including a financial and marketing plan and give a product pitch to a panel of local entrepreneurs.
- Students in AREC 419 Commodity Market Trading Experience work in teams to develop and implement a simulated risk management trading strategy as a manager of a particular agricultural-related commodity (cattle, corn, etc). The students work weekly with Jordan Levi of Five Rivers and Arcadia Asset Management to update their portfolios and provide justification for their investment positions. Students interact with many different risk management professionals as they provide guest lectures.
- In Fall 2022, 20 students began a semester-long Study Abroad program in Florence, Italy. Students will earn 13 credits with both Italian professors and CSU faculty in Italian language, EU Agricultural and Natural Resource Policy, Economics of agriculture, food and natural resources in Italy and the Economics of the Renaissance in Modern Italy. Students will be immersed in local culture, taking educational excursions within and outside the city and having the opportunity to travel independently in small groups across Italy and Europe.
Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
- Students gain valuable experience in produce safety research projects ranging from risk factors associated with onion production practices to adjusting storage parameters to optimize post-harvest quality and safety using solar-powered mobile coolers for food deserts.
- The renowned CSU Flower Trial Gardens is powered by students in leadership roles – for example, one oversees social media and publicity while another helps in the planning and planting of the garden, working with 28 companies around the world
- In the Fall Herbaceous Plants course, students help with designing future flower beds in the City of Fort Collins or on the CSU Campus.
- Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture Kelly Curl has introduced the flipped classroom model where class time is devoted to project-based learning where students engage with real-life problems and emerging technology is used extensively to support synchronous and asynchronous collaboration. Students in her final capstone course obtained mentors from all over the world who were able to meet virtually with students on a weekly basis.
- Work by Landscape Architecture students – “Trolling Trees” and “Be a BEE Habitat” – were two of five designs selected from the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens’ public call for applicants. The CSU group traveled to California to bring their designs to life.
- Students inventory a portion of CSU’s campus trees each year using commercial inventory software and the data are progressively stored on a public website.
- In partnership with a student engineering team at CSU, students developed a portable cleaner and bagging system enabling growers to process pulses they grow for direct marketing to the consumer, maximizing grower profits.
- Floriculture instructor Shannon Mason was awarded a High-Impact Work Study position from CSU’s Student Success Initiative in support of her cut flower teaching garden project entirely led by student interns. The garden is used for growing and harvesting botanical material for use in HORT 412 and HORT 100.
- Practicum projects at the CSU Horticulture Center help students build confidence in their skills and apply horticultural knowledge in a realistic production environment. Floriculture students set record-breaking sales levels at the 2021 annual Poinsettia Sale and Hydroponics students were recognized by the CSU President’s Sustainability Commission for five years of supplying 100 lbs of lettuce/weekly to Housing and Dining Sustainability Local and Organic Foods Initiative.