Rebecca Swanson, Chico State


Rebecca Swanson smiling next to a presentation board at a professional event

Rebecca is currently finishing dual bachelor degrees at Chico State, majoring in agricultural business and animal science with an expected graduation of December 2017. In addition, Rebecca is currently the student herdsman in the Chico State beef unit, a job that entails managing the unit including day-to-day care, feeding, records, billing, organizing events and overseeing four to five student employees.

Rebecca became involved in agriculture at a young age and following high school she began to contemplate pursuing a career in agriculture and owning her own business one day. While an undergraduate, Rebecca began working at the Chico State beef unit and expressed an interest to Dr. Kasey DeAtley, as assistant professor in the College of Agriculture, to become more deeply involved. Dr. DeAtley asked Rebecca to work on her ARI project and has continued to serve as an advisor and mentor.

Rebecca has always been interested in beef cattle reproduction, which plays a key role in the profitability of cow-calf operations. While increasing feed efficiency is a key cattle industry goal, it also affects reproductive efficiency. The ARI research project focuses on determining the relationship between feed efficiency and reproduction in two biological types of heifers (Angus or Lowline Angus). Performance during the developmental stage affects producer profitability since reproductive soundness and relationships established in this period tend to be carried throughout the life of the animal.

Through her work on this research project, Rebecca increased her data analyses skills and greatly strengthened her writing abilities - both key to a successful research career. The project allowed her to think about the science and theories behind the day-to-day activities of producing animals. Through lab meetings and various campus presentations, she improved her presentation skills and became more comfortable in front of large groups. Rebecca thinks that the undergraduate research experience gave her an idea of what graduate school would look like. Enough of an idea that upon graduation, Rebecca intends to begin a master’s program in animal science and is currently exploring institutions for the right opportunity.