by Maggie Stanton
For John Frederick, enrolling in the online food science graduate program meant that, until recently, he had never been to Manhattan. “I really like the area,” said Frederick. “Downtown Manhattan actually reminds me a lot of the small towns where I grew up.”
Graduating from California Polytechnic State University with an undergraduate degree in BioResource and Agricultural Engineering, Frederick knew he wanted to return to graduate school at some point. Working at the E & J Gallo Winery in a variety of roles, Frederick wanted to break into product development, and began searching for graduate programs.
“K-State was the first program that I saw that looked like there was a lot of interaction from the industries,” said Frederick. “Which made me think that there was a lot of innovation, especially around product development. That was a big draw to the program.”
Frederick’s defense seminar, entitled “The Impacts of Thermal Processing on Terpenoid Based Flavors in Food Systems,” formed from a desire to break away from winery and focus more on aromas. This allowed Frederick to study the key markers of high quality juices.
An emphasis on critical thinking in the program forced Fredrick to think outside the box. “Getting a broader education in food science… led me to solutions that were not being used in my industry,” said Frederick. “One of the reasons why I picked K-State was, at other universities, I wouldn’t have learned anything outside of my comfort zone.”
The flexibility of the program was also a draw for Frederick. “’The advisors work very close with the industry, and they understand that sometimes you’ve got 100 tons of fruit coming in the door and you have to put school aside for awhile,” he said, referring to the busy harvest season at the winery.
The collaborative environment in the program made interacting with faculty and advisors possible. “I always enjoyed hearing from advisors,” said Frederick. “I definitely liked interacting with the faculty… I like the projects and the challenges.”
Following his brief stay in Manhattan, Frederick will be returning to E & J Gallo Winery, ready to apply his broader knowledge of food science.