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The Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology


Molly Li
Molly Li

Industrial Technology Student Spotlight: Xuewen Li

Graduate student Xuewen Li has successfully applied her experience from one of the campus industrial technology department's top programs into a summer internship at Prima Wawona.

Besides working with its automated processing systems, she has also worked for another well-established area agricultural producer, Nichols Farms, before she started at Fresno State

That latter position was her first exposure to the agricultural industry after receiving an undergraduate degree in statistics from UC Berkeley. 

Learn more about what's potentially next for the Shanghai, China native after she graduates this fall 2021 in this interview.

Molly LiQ: Talk about your recent internship and any memorable experiences.

Li: "I interned with Global Pac, a packing solution company, that works with Prima Wawona, a stone fruit Central California packing house. I learned to control and operate machinery, train operators, and conduct testing on fruit damage, orientation, and packing speed. It was also a great experience because I ran into a lot of Fresno State alumni throughout my internship." 

Li: "The most memorable part of the internship was participating in the assembly process, and it was great to follow it from the beginning and see what happens behind the scenes prior to production."


Q: What types of skills and experiences have you gained from the internship that will help you on your career path?

Li: "I met and worked with a lot of great people during this internship. They have so much industry experience and fantastic networking opportunities. I also have a much better understanding of a packing house environment and job allocations." 


Q: Why were you attracted to Fresno State and its industrial technology program?

Li: "Fresno State has a good reputation in Central Valley. The enrollment staff and program advisors are helpful, and the tuition is very reasonable."


Q: Why were you drawn to the industrial technology department, and what have been some of your favorite classes?

Li: "After completing my undergraduate degree, I had an opportunity to work for an ag company (Nichols Farms), and it sparked my interest in the manufacturing industry."

Li: "I love all the courses that I have taken at Fresno State. They are very useful and have helped broaden my knowledge. If I have to pick my top three classes, I really enjoyed learning about Operation Management (IT 118), Quality Techniques (IT 217), and Supply Chain Management (IT285)." 


Q: Talk about Fresno State faculty that have served as mentors, and how they have helped you.

Li: "Dr. (Arun) Nambiar has been super responsive and helpful. He has recommended classes for me and helped me create my course path. I also appreciate his willingness to share his skills, knowledge, and expertise."


Q: Describe your graduate research project, and how you picked it.

Li: "The project focuses on an automatic packing machine and the improvement of new products. I chose this topic because I am excited to see the application of technology in this industry. Our goal is to replace some human labor with robots for repetitive tasks and move scarce workers to where they are really needed. The real-world experience has taught a lot, including scheduling, production management, data collection, and data analysis." 


Q: Are you a part of any student organizations at Fresno State, and participated in any other outreach events?

Li: "I joined Alpha Zeta in Spring 2021, and was elected as Sergeant at Arms at the end of semester for this fall. I served as an international student ambassador in Spring 2021, where we partnered with community volunteers to host in-person events for international students. We had a Thanksgiving culture party, afternoon tea gathering, and 4th of July party." 


Q: What was your background in agriculture before you started at Fresno State?

Li: "Growing up in a city, I never thought that I would work in agriculture or manufacturing. By chance, I was fortunate enough to join a nut growing and manufacturing company. (Nichols Farms) Working as a data analyst, I was amazed by the production process and environment. That was the reason I decided to return to school and achieve a master's degree." 


Q: Are there any other interesting notes about yourself that you would like to include?

Li: "I would like to show my deepest gratitude to my family, friends, and professors. Without their support and encouragement, I would not have been able to accomplish what I have so far." 


Q: What are the next steps in your career path?

Li: "While I take classes my final semester this fall, I will finish my graduate project while starting to look for jobs in the manufacturing industry. I am interested in the areas of supply chain management, quality control, project management, and product improvement."