Oct 06, 2011
For Rangeland Resource major Jasmine Westbrook, a love for the range has been with her since she was a child, raised on her parents Napa Valley sheep ranch. The recent recipient of the Paul J. Zinke Memorial Scholarship for students studying soils management, Westbrook is using the award to fund her senior project, which consists of comparing vitamin and mineral deficiencies in sheep to vitamin and mineral analysis in the vegetation and soil from pastures they graze in.
“I’ve already gotten some of the analysis done,” she said. “I am hoping to be able to make recommendations for improving livestock health to ranchers, based upon the results of my analysis.”
When Westbrook found out she was awarded she was, “simply ecstatic.” “I really thought that entering a soils scholarship was something of a long shot,” she said. “I’m not even a Soils major.”
Despite not being a Soils major, Westbrook has always loved soils classes and studying soil science and was shocked to win the award. “I really didn’t think I stood much of a chance against the hard core students,” she said.
The scholarship award commemorates Zinke and the accomplishments he has made in California and abroad in education, soil science and forestry research. The $1,000 annual award goes to an undergraduate student who demonstrates an interest in soils management and academic excellence. “Paul Zinke is a truly inspirational legend in both the forestry and soils fields, both as a researcher and as a UC Berkeley professor,” Westbrook said.
Westbrook plans to honor his memory by inspiring and supporting aspiring scientists to carry on his passion.
After three years of working for a veterinarian and spending a few summers with the U.S. Forest Service, Westbrook has come to the conclusion that she thoroughly enjoys being a Rangeland Resource Science major. She is using her education as a means to become a more informed land steward for her family’s sheep ranch, Samuels Ranch.
Susan Marshall, Professor of Wildland Soils, has helped guide Westbrook throughout her education at HSU. “I owe Susan so much,” Westbrook said. “She has been an amazing teacher, mentor and friend.”
Marshall recommended Westbrook to apply for her first job at Six Rivers National Forest (SNRF), where Westbrook was the only rangeland technician. “Thanks to her support, I got a great job that I truly loved and made the connections that allowed me to go back to the SRNF the next summer,” Westbrook said.
Westbrook will be graduating in May and plans to continue her education at UC Berkeley. “I’d really like to get my PhD, but there aren’t any schools in California that offer a PhD in Rangeland Resource Science,” Westbrook said. “So I might have to wait a while on that until I get things on the ranch in better order.”
While working on her graduate degree at Berkeley, Westbrook will continue work on her family’s sheep ranch in Napa Valley.
“No matter what else happens,” she said. “I plan on taking care of the Samuels Ranch.”