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Fresno State Jordan College Student Spotlight: Melissa Rios (2019)


I love working with my hands, and I don’t mind getting dirty. My favorite thing to do in the shop is welding currently, and I’m learning how to fabricate some things right now. But the more that I get in the shop, and the more that I see things with woodworking, welding and small engines like I’m just getting interested in everything. So I graduated when I was 17. I didn’t know what I wanted to do as far as careers and stuff, but I always enjoyed cooking so I pursued culinary school and went to culinary school when I was 18, and working full times in restaurants, like I said, I had to work at times between 12 and 18 hours just to put food on the table. Financially once I had everything just kind of at a manageable level. It’s just like I need to go back to school. I need to do this for myself and for my kids and I want to improve my education. I first started attending Merced College and one of the courses that I was required to take for the degree was a welding class and that’s kind of where I got my feet wet with ag mechanics. So once I got over here to Fresno State I was like, you know I want to dive in and check out a few more classes and just fell in love with ag mechanics. I have three mechanized ag classes, one is an ag education 189 and that one is how to teach ag mechanics, and then I have two with (faculty member John) Williams: a small engines and then it advanced farm machinery class. You know, I wasn’t really comfortable with ag mechanics. Don’t have a lot of background in it but when I came in (faculy members Chris) McKenna and (John) Williams have been able to break things down to levels so I can understand and really just get a sense of how things work and feel comfortable and safe. I am a single mom of two awesome kids. My kids are really excited for me to become a teacher and to be able to be involved with FFA. and anything that’s agriculture related, My son is interested in drones and just kind of technology stuff, so I’m hoping that I can take him to the World Ag Expo and kind of show him what they’re doing currently with technologies. And my daughter is really interested in veterinary science. So we’re blessed, we’ve got some horses and stuff and and she loves being out there and working with them. When I started school back in 2015 it was it was really tough. I had to work three part-time jobs and balance full-time classes and kids. There were times when like I just wanted to quit but even just the the teachers (said) ‘you got this.’ Having that support and that family atmosphere here and just being welcomed and understanding. I just feel blessed with the opportunity to come back to school (Faculty members John)Williams and (Chris) McKenna has had a really strong influence on me as teachers and seeing how they handle teaching things and working with their students. That’s definitely something that I want to emulate. I feel very blessed to to be any Ken’s class this semester I just feel like he’s got such a wealth of knowledge, and when I go to be a teacher, I feel like I have those skills and I’ve gotten that foundation so I can continue to build and and having them here as a resource. I feel like there’s somebody that I can call the shop It does feel like a family. Coming here McKenna and Williams are just always available to answer questions if I need help I can ask them So I just I think Fresno State such a great place

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