The Santa Rosa Junior College Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources will begin the fall semester with new full-time professors/program coordinators. Joel Grogan will be filling an Environmental Horticulture position formerly held by PJ LoCoco who retired in December 2015. Amy Housman will be filling an Animal Science position which has been vacant for three years.
Housman, 31, grew up in Forestville, attending El Molino High School. After high school, she attended the SRJC intending to major in Juvenile Justice. Housman had been riding horses for 10 years and took an equine science class at SRJC. Through the class she met students who were part of the Ag Ambassadors team and decided to switch to an agriculture major.
Housman transferred to Cal Poly where she received an Animal Science degree. After graduating, Housman spent two years working for a produce company in Salinas. Following that, she worked for TPi, a subsidiary of Land O’ Lakes Purina Feed which produces a dairy premix. During her time at TPi, she received her Master’s Degree from Fresno State.
Before coming to SRJC, Housman worked for a dairy nutritionist and did private consulting within the dairy industry. She first started teaching at the SRJC in the fall of 2015 as an adjunct professor and was hired as a full time animal science professor for the fall 2016 semester out of 22 applicants from around the country.
In the fall, Housman will be teaching four courses: Anatomy and Physiology of Animals, Basic Animal Science, Basic Equine Science and Sustainable Animal Production.
Grogan, 32, is originally from Redding where his family was involved in the forestry industry. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree from Sonoma State in Environmental Studies and Biology in 2006.
Following graduation, Grogan was working on a creek restoration project and running a native plant nursery. He started taking classes at the SRJC to gain more knowledge for the nursery and ended up taking two years of classes. He went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture from University of Oregon in 2014.
Grogan began part-time teaching at SRJC two years ago as an adjunct professor. He was also doing landscape design and consulting throughout Sonoma County. This summer, he was hired as a full time professor for the fall 2016 semester.
In the fall, Grogan will be teaching five classes including Introduction to Horticulture, Horticulture Industry and Careers, Horticulture Workplace Practices, Nursery Management and Plant Materials.
As past students, Grogan said they had the perspective to see what the students need and want and build their programs around that. “Being confident with students, knowing how to study and learn in addition to communicating what we already know is important.”
“It’s important to have a good transfer program for students as well as improve their ability to find good jobs locally,” said Housman. “We already have the resources for a successful ag program in Sonoma County, if we don’t use them the students will go elsewhere.”
The Santa Rosa Junior College Agriculture and Natural Resources Department has more than 2,000 students enrolled annually. It includes Shone Farm, 365 acres of farmland, pasture, vineyards and forest in the Russian River Valley. For more information visit ag.santarosa.edu.
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