2018-2019 Ambassadors

2018-2019 Ambassadors

Sonya Bedge – Portland, Oregon

Senior majoring in Bioresource Research (Honors) with an option in Toxicology
Minor in Chemistry

Entering OSU, I never thought I would end up in the College of Agricultural Sciences. Since a young age, I’ve known that I wanted to work in the medical field, and this college never crossed my mind as a stepping stone for my path. However, in this college, and especially in the Bioresource Research major, I have been met with a lot of flexibility in allowing me to take the classes that are interesting for me in disciplines throughout the university, especially in regards to where our health is intersected by work in agriculture. I knew this college was right for me when I was met with open arms and nothing but support and encouragement.

One of the biggest factors that influenced me to attend OSU was the Honors College. I was really drawn to the emphasis on a strong science and research foundation, and the smaller class sizes and community that they provide. Since my freshman year, the Honors College has played a huge role in my development both socially and academically.

OSU has also allowed me the opportunity to get involved in many different aspects of campus. Since coming to OSU, I have become involved with Sigma Delta Omega (a sorority for women in science), Bella Voce (the on-campus women’s choir), and the Indian Students Association. By becoming deeply involved with these organizations, I have really found my home at OSU and have learned a lot about how different parts of the campus work together to create the community we have today.

As a part of the Ambassador team I am excited to showcase the diversity of opportunities within the College of Agricultural Sciences and help future student find a home at OSU!


Ashley Carlberg – Portland, Oregon

Senior majoring in Animal Sciences with an option in Animal Biohealth/Pre-Professional
Minor in Chemistry

As a first-generation college student, I wanted to attend a university that was close to home. After my high school counselor showed me Oregon State University’s great reputation for science, agriculture and research, my heart was set.

Growing up I had minimal exposure to agriculture, but I did have many different species of animals. My abundant involvement at Oregon State University and various shelters, sanctuaries and veterinary clinics in Corvallis has secured my passion for agriculture and animal care.

This year, I am pursuing many new challenges including being the president of the Pre-Veterinary Medical Association, a technician at the OSU Sheep Center, and a veterinary assistant at Alpine Animal Hospital. After earning my degree, I would like to attend the OSU Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine and become a small animal veterinarian.

As an ambassador, I look forward to working with prospective students and sharing my enthusiasm for agriculture, teaching and learning. I am excited to meet the many donors who make all the opportunities within Oregon State University possible.


Liberty Greenlund – Yamhill, Oregon

Junior majoring in Crop and Soil Science with an option in Agronomy
Minor in Horticulture

Growing up with an animal science background in cattle, I never thought I would end up going into crop and soil science. I raised and bred herefords in my hometown Yamhill-Carlton as a project from fifth grade to the end of senior year in high school. I really enjoyed them, and they started me with the strong passion for agriculture that I have today. However, living in wine country, I found myself in a job at Argyle Winery in Dundee, Oregon.

There, I began learning about the culture involved in the production of grapes and wine, and gained a curiosity about the soil science behind it all. This interest put me on track towards agronomy, and I secured my major after getting my hands dirty as a field scout for Marion Ag in St. Paul. Additionally, during the 2018 summer, I interned in the fields of Adleshiem Vineyards in Newberg. My agriculture background also brought me into FFA and allowed me to serve on the state officer team during 2016 to 2017 where I grew my leadership skills within agriculture.

Ideally, I hope to become an agronomist specializing in vineyards. So, of course Oregon State was the place to come for my college education. For a change of scenery, I initially enrolled at Eastern Oregon University’s partner program. While EOU was a great experience, I soon decided that Corvallis is where I belong.

I have found that the agricultural community here is rich with possibilities and opportunities. I am currently part of the Crops Club, and am in the process of joining the Soil Judging Team and the Organic Farming Club. Recently, I was elected to the OSU Ambassador team, so I look forward to making many new connections with industry representatives, fellow, and future students!


Jonathan Lopez-Valadez – Merrill, Oregon

Junior majoring in Agricultural Sciences
Minor in Horticulture

I grew up in the small southern Oregon town of Merrill. It is about two miles away from the California border and if you blink, you just might miss it. The entirety of the Klamath Basin is rich in agricultural production and is how I managed to get my first job of moving irrigation lines across alfalfa fields. This job was by no means easy and often was a test of my resolve. But I persisted and came to love every aspect of it, being outdoors, working with friends, bonding with the family I worked for, and all while making a little money to pay for football.

During my freshman year of high school, I got involved with the FFA chapter. The organization really opened the door for something that I continue to be involved in to this day: agricultural education. After graduating high school, I attended Klamath Community College, where I continued my FFA involvement by being a collegiate member. I graduated from KCC with an AAS in Agricultural Science. This brings me to my current chapter of my educational career, as a transfer student here at Oregon State. From previous experiences that included me visiting the campus, I knew that this is where I wanted to go.

The biggest influence for the continuation of my education are my parents. They are both immigrants from Mexico, making me a first generation Mexican-American and a first generation college student. They visualized a future where my siblings and I had a college education and worked very rewarding careers. This is the fuel that fires my commitment to achieving my academic pursuits.

My aspirations for this year’s ambassador team is to really depict the narrative of what it means to be an Oregon State student all while tying in what I believe to be the most important and valuable subject: agriculture. I am tremendously excited to work with a great group of people and to outreach to prospective students! GO BEAVS!!


Roxana Navarro – Keizer, Oregon

Senior majoring in Food Science and Technology with an option in Food Science
Minor in Chemistry

I grew up in a rural area just outside of Salem, in the middle of several hop and berry farms. I had always been exposed to the world of agriculture, but never fully embraced it until I got to high school. I found my niche in the Gervais FFA chapter and explored agriculture through various CDE and competition. For as long as I can remember I had always envisioned myself as a scientist, I dreamt of the day where I’d get to put on a lab coat and get to work. My background in agriculture had exposed me to various fields and I found that the perfect way to integrate my experiences with my dream was through becoming a food scientist.

My decision to come to Oregon State University was based on the Food Science program, being that it was the only college in the state to have a college dedicated to all things agriculture, the College of Agricultural Sciences. Coming to college as a first generation student was a tough adjustment, but thankfully I was involved in the College Assistant Migrant Program (CAMP). Through this organization I had a community of other first generation Hispanic students to join me on the new journey into higher education. My time within the CAMP organization influenced my desire to get more involved in the university and led to me becoming part of the 2017-2018 Leadership Academy Cohort. Through that organization I learned that leaders come in many forms, and that even I could be a leader. It was through the leadership academy that I gained the confidence to apply to become an ambassador for the College of Agricultural Sciences.

I am grateful to be serving on the 2018-2019 College of Agricultural Sciences Ambassador team. I am excited to share my unique perspective and abundant knowledge of the university while representing the College of Agricultural Sciences. I look forward to being a role model to underrepresented students in agricultural and STEM fields, and demonstrate that no matter your background, you can still succeed in a university setting.


Benjamin Nicholas – Ann Arbor, Michigan

Senior majoring in Fisheries and Wildlife (Honors) with a specialization in Fish Ecology

I was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but attended high school in a rural town on the outskirts of the city. As a kid, I grew up camping and fishing with my grandpa most summers in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. These trips led me to develop an interest for the outdoors, especially in aquatic ecosystems and the organisms within them. In high school I occupied my time with a variety of clubs and athletics, my favorite being our school’s National Ocean Sciences Bowl team, which help me decide to pursue a degree in fisheries science.

I decided to attend Oregon State University because of the Fisheries and Wildlife program and Honors College due to opportunities for undergraduate research and the tight knit community. Within the first month at Oregon State, I began working with an ichthyologist in my department on an Honors thesis looking at the potential cryptic speciation of a freshwater sculpin. I have also been fortunate enough to participate in an REU at the Friday Harbor Laboratories in the San Juan Islands where I CT scanned pufferfish to quantify their functional feeding traits across the family. This most recent summer, I completed an internship with Oregon Dept. of Fisheries and Wildlife in La Grande Oregon, assessing fish populations in alpine lakes. I am also a member in the Fisheries and Wildlife club on campus and am the Ichthyology Collection Liaison for the Natural History and Collections Club. After earning my degree at Oregon State, I plan to attend graduate school to study the evolution and ecology of morphological diversity within fishes, where I hope to land in a career in academia. 

I am honored to be a part of the 2018-2019 College of Agricultural Sciences Ambassadors. I look forward to representing my college and sharing my experiences at OSU with new and prospective students.


Kayla Rushing – Oakland, Oregon

Senior majoring in Animal Sciences with an option in Animal Production
Minor in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences

Growing up in small rural Oakland, OR, I could always be found outside working with my assortment of animals. Growing up on a small hobby farm allowed me to experience working with a variety of animals from goats, to horses, to pheasants, and more. If I wasn’t outside working with my animals, then I could be found on the basketball court or in my agricultural sciences classroom practicing FFA events.

My involvement in both 4-H and FFA helped expose me to a variety of different aspects of agriculture. Having taken part in many livestock shows and career development events through youth development programs, I found my passion for animal agriculture. Thus, further shaping my decision in attending OSU the fall after my high school graduation. I arrived to OSU bright eyed and bushy tailed not knowing what to do when my first class had more students than my entire high school. I however, quickly found my niche in several different extracurricular activities. Organizations like the Dairy Club, Poultry Science Club, and Sigma Alpha, the professional agricultural sorority on campus, quickly made me feel at home. I furthered my involvement in the College of Agricultural Sciences by joining the Agricultural Executive Council where I served as the Vice President. This position allowed me to organize the Annual Spring Industry Tour, which exposed me more to the agricultural diversity in Oregon.

Growing up showing livestock influenced my decision to major in Animal Science. After my first year I added the animal production option, where I hope to learn more about livestock production within the dairy, sheep, goat, and poultry industry. Breeding programs and genetics are my main interests.

I am looking forward to this year and being able to serve as an ambassador for the College of Agricultural Sciences and sharing all my experiences here at OSU! And most importantly, GO BEAVS!


Jakelyn Santa Cruz-Enriquez – Hood River, Oregon

Junior majoring in Agricultural Business Management
Minor in Animal Sciences

Born and raised in the Columbia River Gorge meant being surrounded by acres and acres of apple, pear, peach, and cherry orchards my whole life. Growing up constantly surrounded by agriculture, led to my now involvement and love for 4-H and the FFA. My older brother was the first in the family to join FFA, and soon after my siblings and I joined in raising sheep, goats, and beef to show and sell at our local county fair. Entering high school, my career in FFA took off. I held many officer positions, participated in various career development events including public speaking, and got to learn all about agriculture in other areas of the country by traveling to other states. Being involved with such amazing organizations like 4-H and FFA made me want to pursue a career in the agriculture field.

Visiting my older brother during his time here at Oregon State allowed me to experience the campus and discover that Oregon State was the perfect fit for me. I fell in love with the campus and Corvallis. Since the College of Agricultural Sciences here at Oregon State University is one of the best in the country, choosing to study something in the agriculture field was an easy choice. The applied economics department was also the perfect fit for me because I was able to pursue both of my passions: business and agriculture. My goal is to one day manage a large agricultural corporation or start my own agriculture-related business back at home.

For the past two years that I have been here at OSU, I have served as the recording officer for Steer-A-Year, been Merchandise Chair for my sorority (Sigma Alpha), participated in Dr. Sterns Quiz Bowl Team, and peer-mentored a fellow Ford Family Foundation scholar. I have also attended national conferences such as the Latinos in Agriculture, studied social justice in Ferrara, Italy and Barcelona, Spain, and was a sponsored PINK campus representative for OSU.

Being chosen as a College of Agricultural Sciences Ambassador has been by far my greatest accomplishment. By serving on the 2018-2019 ambassador team, I hope to share my love for the university and agriculture with students to help them find their passion and place here at Oregon State.


Ellie Puttman – Central Point, Oregon
Ambassador Student Director

Senior majoring in Bioresource Research with an option in Animal Reproduction and Development
Minors in Chemistry and Leadership

Growing up in Southern Oregon on a five-acre piece of land in the country, I was raised with an entourage of animals and an appreciation of the outdoors. I remember trying to keep up with my older sister as she joined 4-H and started getting involved in the community. As soon as I could, I was training for my first contest. I had entered into the world of agriculture. My involvement in agriculture increased when I joined FFA in high school. My days soon filled with contests, events, and trips that allowed me to explore both Oregon and American agriculture. I competed in events ranging from Parliamentary Procedure and Public Speaking, to Horse and Livestock Evaluation and Veterinary Science. My career interests soon fell on the veterinary world, and I interned at an equine vet clinic.

My experiences lead me to Oregon State University to pursue a degree in Bioresource Research with an option in Animal Reproduction and Development. I apply for vet school this year. I have loved being a part of the Corvallis community over the past three years. OSU has given me the opportunity to participate in a number of activities both extracurricular and academic. Currently, I am assisting a professor in the Animal and Rangeland Sciences Department in her research in beef cattle reproduction. I continued research last summer and continue to gain valuable experiences to prepare for vet school and a future in the agricultural world.

I am grateful for the opportunity to be a leader for the College of Agricultural Sciences ambassador team this year. I know the friendships I make with my fellow ambassadors, the connections I gain from the many events we attend, and the information I attain from the training and experiences we participate in are valuable for my personal and professional development.


Gabrielle Redhead – Central Point, Oregon
Ambassador Student Director

Senior majoring in Agricultural Business Management
Minor in Leadership

Growing up in the town of Central Point Oregon, my family always was outside working together, playing together, and just having outright fun. Being raised in the Rogue Valley you gain a new appreciation for agriculture at an early age. From county fairs, to driving around and seeing the immense diversity of agriculture, planted the seed for my passion for our industry. My competitive drive led me to raise 4-H animals with my cousins, which I transitioned into an FFA member in high school. From there I participated in numerous career development events, facilitating and growing my love for this industry. During my high school years, I could always be found in the Crater FFA Ag Lab working on the next event for chapter.

Over the years, my interactions with faculty members and students from Oregon State gave me the idea that one day I would be able to attend this amazing university. I am currently a sophomore studying Agricultural Business Management with a minor in Leadership and I can’t be more excited about my future. During the summer I will have the opportunity to work for Northwestern mutual, being an intern in their Central Point branch, where I will be able to grow and diversify my network. Over this next year, I’m extremely blessed to have the opportunity to be the student representative for Oregon State on the Oregonians for Food and Shelter board as well as being an Ambassador for Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources through the college.

What I hope to gain from the Ambassador Program is a deeper appreciation and understanding of the diversity that agriculture has an Oregon, as well as Oregon State University’s role within the industry. I’m extremely excited to be traveling other students that just as passionate, if not more passionate about the agricultural industry as I am. I look forward to all of the adventures and relationships that will come from this amazing opportunity.