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The Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology

Dean St. Hilaire at fall staff assembly

Jordan College Kicks off new century of agriculture

(August 25, 2023) - The Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology opened the 101st year of agricultural instruction at Fresno State this fall with a host of exciting new events, faculty and staff to serve its 1,800 undergraduate and graduate students and the nation’s leading agricultural area.

To celebrate the history of the college and its future, two special events will welcome the public to campus. 

  • An open house on Saturday, October 7 from 9 a.m. to noon will offer alumni, friends, families, and supporters a chance to meet our students and clubs, tour the University Agricultural farm, enjoy Fresno State ice cream and other student-made farm products, and participate in demonstrations and kid-friendly activities. More info
  • The Centennial Tailgate on Saturday, October 28 at O’Neill Park will start three hours before the kickoff of the homecoming game that afternoon or evening. RSVP in advance to enjoy great food and connect with fellow alumni, faculty and staff at:

To learn more about other fall outreach events like the Ag Boosters BBQ (Sept. 10), Turf Day Golf Classic (Oct. 20), CIT Ag Tech Day (Oct. 28) and 42nd annual Agribusiness Management Conference (Nov. 8), visit our events calendar. 

Former animal sciences and agricultural department chair Dr. Steven Rocca was appointed as the new associate dean of the College. The Easton native and Fresno State alumnus will oversee a host areas tied to academics (advising, scheduling, other initiatives), events, facilities, lecturers, internships, student mentorships and other responsibilities. He joins the staff overseen by its ninth dean of agriculture, Dr. Rolston St. Hilaire, who joined the college in September 2022.

The college also welcomed 17 new faculty that included:

  • Animal Sciences and Agricultural Education (7): lecturers Annika Austin, Anne Deniz, Clay Freeman, Alyx Iared, Cynthia Lopez, Hannah Price, Amanda Wright
  • Food Science and Nutrition (4) - lecturers Pauline Freire Vásconez, Sara Rima, Maria Torres, Kelli Williamson
  • Industrial Technology (4) - lecturers Michael Obradovich, Angel Pichardo, Beau Sunahara, Brannon Vidmar
  • Plant Science (2) - assistant professor Dr. Sangeeta Bansal, lecturer/soil judging team coach Michael Sowers

Other new Jordan College staff include:

  • Ag One - director of development Lauri King
  • Center for Irrigation Technology - administrative assistant Sayra Bonilla, educational assistant Crystal Sandoval-Leyva
  • Dean’s Office - business operations lead / assistant to the dean Karine Frnzyan
  • Graduate Laboratory - instructional support technician Emily Wilson

Three of the five new University Agricultural Laboratory staff are animal science lecturers, while another returning lecturer will oversee the beef unit (Ryan Person). 

  • Equine Unit - manager Alyx Iared, technician Rose Cracraft
  • Poultry Unit - manager Cynthia Lopez
  • Sheep Unit - manager Annika Austin
  • Foundation - instructional technician Alexjandra Arias-Canela

A new class has been added tied to global agricultural food security issues (AGBS 185T), and is taught by agricultural business department chair, Dr. Srinivasa Konduru. This course follows a multidisciplinary approach in understanding global issues, policies and practices related to population growth, world hunger, nutritional imbalances and climate change. 

The industrial technology department also had its master’s program accredited for the first time.

Five faculty also received promotions and included associate professors Dr. Shabnam Pooya from the food science and nutrition department, Dr. Gurreet Brar from the plant science department, Dr. Qun (Christy) Sun and Dr. Luca Billante from the viticulture and enology department. Dr. Florence Cassel Sharma from the plant department also received professor status.

The agricultural business department also welcomed two visiting scholars from Brazil, Thiago Melo and Jeanne Siqueira, who teach at the Universidade Federal dos Vales do Jequitinhonha e Mucuri.

To read more about the college and follow its news, visit the Jordan College media site.