Agricultural Business Senior Spotlight: Patricia Ambriz Viveros
With California's position as the national leader in agriculture, the Central Valley brings people like Fresno State agricultural business senior Patricia Ambriz Viveros together in so many ways.
The first-generation college graduate is originally from Michoacán, Mexico and has lived most of her life in Brentwood (40 minutes west of Stockton) before she transferred to Fresno State two years ago from Los Medanos College.
Watching her grandfather and mother work hard as ag laborers to provide for others has given her a template for success, especially this past year when the pandemic has made students' lives extra difficult in so many ways.
Learn more about this Fresno State graduate's background and potential career paths
in this recent interview.
Q: What was your prior background in agriculture, and why did you choose to attend Fresno State?
Ambriz Viveros: "My background in agriculture is a humble one. My grandfather and mother both worked as agricultural laborers for decades. My grandfather traveled with the picking season in California and also in Pennsylvania. My mother worked in picking and packing agricultural products for most of the year. I only went to work with her one day, my job was to clean, remove the seed, and arrange apricots on boards for drying. Seeing how others picked the apricots, made me appreciate the work that is done to feed everyone. Agricultural workers are some of the toughest and most hard-working individuals I know. From that point on, I knew that I wanted to remain in agriculture, but learn how everything works after the commodities are harvested."
Ambriz Viveros: "I chose Fresno State because I knew its agriculture program is the best. I also enjoyed that it is a hands-on program."
Q: Have you had any internships or part-time jobs, and how have they prepared you for your career?
Ambriz Viveros: "I got a part-time job at the Black Bear Diner in Fresno, and this has been a great opportunity because it is flexible with my school schedule, and I am able to give my full attention to my schoolwork. The tasks that I am responsible for are mainly customer service-focused. I am a server, and I am in charge of providing them with the best experience and service."
Ambriz Viveros: "Through this position, I learned the value of teamwork, customer service, and how to multitask efficiently. I learned how to remain calm when things are hectic. All these qualities are extremely valuable, and I will be taking them with me wherever I go."
Q: Have you been involved with any other extra-curricular activities?
Ambriz Viveros: "I attended the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) in Anaheim, with some of my fellow AG Business classmates. I got to network with some Fresno State alumni and got to know some of my classmates as well. I saw so many amazing opportunities in marketing. There were over 100 different companies there, and I also got to get some business cards for potential jobs. That experience was a confirmation that I am in the correct major and that I am excited to see where my career takes me."
Q: Do you receive any type of Fresno State ag-related scholarships?
Ambriz Viveros: "I am thankful to have received the Ag One-Max & Verda Foster Memorial Scholarship and the W & M Plummer Scholarship."
Q: Have you had to overcome any challenges or obstacles to get to where you are today
that have shaped you are?
Ambriz Viveros: "There are many obstacles that I have had to face to get where I am today. I have been working since I was 16 years old so that I could one day be able to go to college. I had to put my dreams on hold for a few years after high school, so that I could save some money. After a few years of working full-time, I went back to junior college and began to take part-time classes. In the fall of 2019, I transferred to Fresno State."
Ambriz Viveros: "When I got accepted to Fresno State, I had to move away from home and leave behind all my family and friends. As a first-generation college student, it was a bit tougher for me because I was going in blind. I did not have anyone to help me navigate what college is all about. On top of that, I have had to finance my college expenses, rent, and vehicle on my own because my family does not have the finances to help me fulfill my dreams. I have been working since I moved to Fresno and have made it all happen with my hard work."
Ambriz Viveros: "The pandemic was another obstacle that was tough on me. I lost my part-time job and had to go on unemployment to be able to pay my bills. Unfortunately, my family lives 2 hours and 45 minutes from me, I was isolated from others. Thankfully I haven’t gotten sick."
Ambriz Viveros: "All of these things have shaped me into a resilient, strong, independent, and hard-working individual. I am grateful for the events in my life that have made me who I am because without them, I wouldn’t know the strength that is within me."
Q: After graduation, what's your potential next career step, and how do you plan to use your degree with eventually?
Ambriz Viveros: "After graduation I want to pursue a career in logistics or agricultural finance, and I would also like to go back to school to get my master’s degree."
Ambriz Viveros: "I am drawn to the logistical aspect of agriculture because as a kid I always wondered how the commodities that my family helped harvest made it to the grocery stores outside of where I lived. I remember seeing a box of corn labeled "Brentwood Corn" in a city that was about 30 minutes away from Brentwood. That is what sparked my interest in understanding what happens to the food after it is harvested, and where does it go. Later I learned that most of the food we grow is shipped to many parts of the world, that made me more interested in understanding how networks can be so efficient that food stays fresh."
Ambriz Viveros: "Ag finance is something that I find I am good at and I enjoy. I took a class in it my first year at Fresno State that was so difficult and new to me, but it was also completely rewarding. I enjoyed learning about depreciation, bonds, loans, and the stock market. A job in the sector that helps small farmers finance their plot of land and start their operation would be a fulfilling career that I would enjoy."