The Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology
Agricultural Business Student Spotlight: Yinglak Jittakoat
(April 26, 2023) Congratulations to graduating agricultural business senior Yinglak (Pang) Jittakoat who received her second straight Mountain West Conference Women’s Tennis Player of the Year award this week - another impressive accomplishment that balances out her equally notable off-court credentials.
This spring, the Bangkok, Thailand native has applied her classroom knowledge with the campus WET Center through its Chicostart Accelerate Innovation program to help it locate area events to connect with rural populations and help improve technology access.
You can also see examples of her eye for product development and marketing in her own Suanlek garden and home decor business that she started during the pandemic in 2020. Since then, she has added another budding venture tied to aroma and herbal essence products that offer stress and pain relief.
She is also vice president of the campus WarBow League, which hosts competitive archery survival games (in the theme of paintball), as if going 8-0 in conference play at No. 1 singles this year for Fresno State Athletics wasn’t physically demanding enough (while ranking top 60 nationally in collegiate doubles).
Read more about her impressive background in this recent interview, and also follow her and the women’s tennis this week at the Mountain West Championships in Las Vegas at https://gobulldogs.com/sports/womens-tennis and https://bit.ly/MW-w-tennis
Q: Why did you choose to attend Fresno State, and how did you pick your major?
“I picked Fresno State because it has a good tennis program, and I have always wanted to study in the agriculture field, so Fresno was a good fit for me. I decided to major in agricultural business because I started my online gardening decoration business a year before I decided to transfer to Fresno State to learn more about the business side, too. These areas include (working with) Excel, accounting, business management, and other skills that are really helpful in developing my business plan and system.”
Q: Did you have any other family members graduate or attend Fresno State?
“My grandparents and parents graduated from universities in Thailand, and I’m the first generation from my family to graduate from a United States university.”
Q: Which classes & faculty members have had the biggest influence on you at Fresno State?
“All of the professors and staff have always supported me and have given me the best experience at Fresno State, and I would like to give a special thank you to professor Neil Tung and Lynn Williams.”
Q: Have you been involved with research on campus, and how will it benefit your career path?
“Right now, I am super glad to be part of the ‘Chicostart’ program through the Water, Energy and Technology Center (on campus). This is helping my career path in every way, and adds experience, communication and cooperation skills as I develop relationships and work with its team. This real life work experience goes beyond the classroom, and provides extra skills that I can only experience from their projects, such as research and analysis.”
“The main goal of the project is to equalize the opportunity of the farmers in rural areas to have the same access to technology as farmers in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. My main responsibility of this project is to do research and gather information about any events that will happen in the future, and our project is mainly focused on the Central Valley. Once I have the data, I will communicate it with the team and analyze it.”
Q: What was your background in agriculture before you started at Fresno State?
“My grandpa owns a small vegetable and fruit farm about four hours from Bangkok in northeast Thailand. It’s not a true (profit-seeking) business, and sometimes he will just give away the yields for free. He grows all types of tropical vegetables, ranging from cucumbers, eggplants, beans, mangoes, bananas, jackfruit, and more. I help him sometimes when I visit, and that is how my inspiration towards agriculture started.”
“Currently I also own two online businesses that are based in Bangkok that I would like to expand internationally when I eventually retire from tennis. I started the first one, Suanlek Home Decor, during the pandemic in 2020 as a way to create and sell affordable and cute plant pots, and I have expanded it to include other decorative elements. (Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/suanlek.homedecor ; Facebook https://www.facebook.com/suanlek.homedecor ).”
“I started the second business, ThongMee, in 2022 that features herbal and aroma essence products that provide pain and stress relief. My father works in a health-related government office, so when hemp products and marijuana-related health products became legal in Thailand, I was able to use his experience to add another line of products that had medicinal properties available online in Thailand.”
Q: Are you a part of any other clubs/organizations at Fresno State (and also indicate if you were an officer) & involved in any noteworthy activities or competitions?
“I am a co-founder of the Combat Archery Club at Fresno State ( https://www.facebook.com/warbowleague ) and currently its vice president. My main responsibilities are working directly with the president by developing and building the club to get more recognition. I also assist in organizing and planning club events, club activities, and club meetings. The sport combines archery with paintball, and the last ‘survivor’ is the winner.”
Q: Have you received any scholarships related to campus, the Jordan College or Ag One?
“I don’t receive any scholarship from Jordan College or any that are are-related, but I received a full scholarship from the athletic department. “
Q: How is your collegiate tennis season going and give us some background on your ability.
“We hope to make it to the NCAA Championships this year in doubles. To do that, you need to be in the top 60 at the end of the season, and right now we’re in the top 50. Internationally in singles, I am ranked somewhere around the top 1,200 in the world.
Q: Have you overcome any challenges to get where you are today that have shaped who you are?
“I have been through a lot of fun and challenging experiences. Being an international student in the United States is really challenging. I have learned how to build relationships with people that have completely different cultures and backgrounds. I also have been playing tennis my whole life, so I didn’t have a traditional (American) high school experience because I had to travel the world to play a lot of tennis tournaments. What I got the most out of it was the soft skills and how to adapt to any situation or culture, and I also learned English through traveling around the world and making a lot of international friends too."