Typically, when college students aren’t pre-occupied with their next paper or exam, how they will eventually impact the world post-graduation can cause a bit of anxiety. But for upcoming senior Isabella Pulido (’21), who’s studying animal sciences, impacting the community within the College of Agricultural Sciences today has been an earnest point of focus during her time at CSU. With the help of scholarships, off-setting roughly 20-percent of her college expenses—the rest of which was sourced through hard work and family—Pulido has been able to invest not just in her own future, but the future of the college.
“The College of Agricultural Sciences and Department of Animal Sciences have helped me tremendously in the past three years in receiving scholarships from generous donors, organizations, and alumni,” said Pulido. “I was very fortunate to receive support my first year at CSU and that is pretty rare for many universities to do for a first-year student.”
Along with her studies, Pulido has focused her extracurricular activities on ensuring the college is a welcoming environment for students of all backgrounds.
“Specifically in our college, we have a lot of students that come with no ag background,” noted Pulido, who hails from Hollister, California, “so they already don’t feel part of the community and feel lost. When you do join and want to be part of the organizations but don’t have background, or if you look like you don’t have the background, you might get overlooked. I grew up in ag my entire life. I was raised growing, picking and cutting apricots for my family. Every year was just harvesting and making ends meet. We struggled with the life of farming, but not many people know that. You can’t see that when you see me.”
To this point, Pulido has invested a considerable amount of time to make sure there’s a seat at the table for students who might feel marginalized due to their lack of agricultural background, cultural differences, or racial identity. So, Pulido, in cooperation with a small handful of students and student success coordinator, Kayla Dwyer, decided to carve out a space for folks who may have felt overlooked. About a year ago, the group started HERD, an organization that works to build community with students.
“Our efforts are to really just be a group that is open to our department and the university—especially for students that are of different races and ethnicities,” said Pulido. “[These students] need to understand that they have a home and are part of this community. We always say we have this community, and they need to hear that. HERD is an organization that’s open to bringing in those of different races and ethnicities; to make sure they are heard and have a safe space to talk to make changes in the college and community.”