Kansas State University


Food Science Institute

Congrats to our food science product development team!

K-State’s own food science product development team consisting of K-State food science undergraduate students Mayla Kritski Baez and Conrad Kabus and graduate student Karthik Sajith Babu recently won 2nd place in the 2017 National Dairy Council New Product Competition! The team advisor is Dr. Jayendra Amamcharla.

The team was originally selected as one of the “Top 3” outstanding student teams, allowing them to move on to the final round. Their 2nd place finish was announced on Tuesday, June 27th at the American Dairy Science Association Joint Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, PA.

The challenge? Develop a dairy beverage that will be the drink of choice for 15-25 year old consumers. The team responded by creating Mate Au Lait Protein Plus. The drink is described as “a unique, ready-to-drink, dairy-based tea beverage made with only four simple ingredients: whole milk, brewed Yerba mate tea, sugar and milk protein concentrate. Caramelized cane sugar provides sweetness and enhances the color and texture of this one-of-a-kind beverage that one can drink either hot or cold. Mate Au Lait Protein Plus is an excellent source of dairy protein, a good source of calcium with a caffeine content that varies between green tea and coffee. The convenient re-sealable cap makes it easy to drink some now and save some for later.”

The overall product development was no easy task, but the end result was well worth the hard work. “The Mate Au Lait Team for Kansas State University had many challenges when developing the milk-based product,” said Conrad. “But from those challenges we learned the valuable lesson of patience. Our product’s formulation and application was a tedious endeavor, but rather than rush some of the aspects of production, the team took their time and tried to perfect every detail and stay true to the original concept of Mate Au Lait.”

Alumni Spotlight: Nick Fief

Nick Fief has always been a science fanatic. So when a neighbor mentioned the variety of career options in the field of food science, he knew he had to take a look.

After a semester of introductory classes, Nick knew he had found his calling. The environment in particular had drawn him in. “I personally enjoyed the faculty and their dedication to the program,” said Nick. “It was enjoyable and beneficial to get to spend time directly with the faculty. They were always available, helpful, and reasonable to get along with, not to mention knowledgeable about a variety of areas from microbiology, chemistry, dairy, meat, you name it.”

Now an Operations Specialist at Land O’ Lakes, Nick credits his undergrad experience for helping him prepare for a manufacturing work setting. “There are things I come across every day that I learned about from one course or another,” said Nick. “A lot of the simple, every day or every week things we do can sometimes get lost on people, like why we use certain sanitary practices or do environmental swabbing. Most people don’t really understand how important those little things really are.”

Nick’s role in the company also includes a research aspect. “Additionally, my job works directly with our company’s research and development team,” said Nick. “So having taken research and development courses in college helped prepare me for real world application of those processes.”

According to Nick, a food science degree is the gateway to a number of career opportunities. “If you have any interest in manufacturing, agriculture, management, research and development, government regulations, chemistry, biology, etc., then give food science a chance,” said Nick. “There is a job and a bright future in the food industry for anyone willing to work for it.”

Nick has found that the structured learning environment is what he misses most about K-State. “It was more enjoyable than I think I realized at the time to have so much knowledge and information at my fingertips and to learn something new every day,” said Nick. “And even though the nights were often long and the work load was high, it was never entirely dull when a group of us food science students were all working together on a project or studying for a final.”

Any other takeaways? “It was also rewarding to take classes like wine tasting,” said Nick. “You could say we enjoyed that homework the most. We all aced the class with flying colors, too!”

Graduate Student Spotlight: Amanda Wilder

Some student struggle when deciding on a career choice. For recent graduate Amanda Wilder, the decision was an easy one.

“Growing up with sheep, pigs, and dairy cattle, I’ve always been inherently attached to the food I eat,” said Wilder. “Studying food science was a natural choice for me to learn more about food while supporting my love for agricultural production and science.”

Wilder’s passion for her field of study led her to the graduate program, where she recently completed her master’s in food science. “Nearing the end of my undergraduate studies, even with 3 completed internships, I didn’t feel like I knew nearly enough about anything to really be productive as a food science professional,” said Wilder. “I chose to pursue graduate school to hone in on food safety and enhance my knowledge and skills in an area of food science I was most passionate about.”

The ability to cultivate the program to her interests made the program a good fit for Wilder. “I really loved that the graduate program at Kansas State was flexible yet challenging,” said Wilder. “I was able to develop my own coursework curriculum based around my interests in food safety and public health.”

While in school, Wilder took on the role of Graduate Research Assistant in Professor Randy Phebus’s Food Safety and Defense Laboratory. Wilder said this position gave her “real-world” experience that can’t be found in a classroom. According to Phebus, “Amanda put the same level of attention to detail into the selection of the school where she wanted to pursue her Master’s degree as she did in conducting her actual research projects. K-State, and my lab especially, were extremely fortunate to have Amanda for a couple of years and her research will be very impactful to the meat processing industry.”

Wilder advises potential graduate students to carefully consider each component of their program. “Don’t expect a master’s program to be similar to the undergraduate experience,” said Wilder. “Graduate school is more about hands-on applied skill development and research, while coursework is meant to supplement and enhance your understanding of the research you are conducting. Studying food science is generally a broad topic and it’s impossible to be an expert at everything. Weigh out your options compared to your personal interests and become an expert in something you truly care about.”

Since graduating, Wilder has taken her talents to Boar’s Head Brand, working as an R&D Concept Developer. Manhattan, however, remains close to her heart. “I miss the people and the food,” said Wilder. “For a small town, Manhattan has some first class eating spots. My favorites included Taco Lucha, 4 Olives, Thai Noodle and the Little Apple Brewery. Manhattan is the only place I have lived where I felt genuinely welcomed and included by everyone I interacted with both on and off campus.”

Meet Your Student to Student Recruiter Austin Weber!

Our new student to student recruiter, Austin Weber, was originally drawn to K-State based on the welcoming environment. “Everyone is so pleasant with one another, and will go out of their way to help a complete stranger to them,” said Weber. “The fact that we all come from very different backgrounds and all have different passions, but are able to coincide with each other is beautiful.”

Now a junior, Weber’s initial reason for becoming a food science major has turned into a great experience. “I love food. So, I figured I would love the science behind it, and how it is processed,” said Weber. “Needless to say, I plan on being a food science student for awhile.”

Like many food science students, Weber was initially unsure about what he wanted to major in. Weber was able to discuss the possibilities that come with a food science degree, and hopes to provide that same knowledge to incoming students. “I was grateful that I had someone to talk to and help me figure out my future,” said Weber. “I want to be able to be the same person for future students here at Kansas State.”

This summer, Weber will be staying busy before returning to K-State. “I was lucky to receive an internship offer at ADM, working as a summer lab technician,” said Weber. “I will be running quality assurance testing on flour and wheat to ensure optimal baking.”

Meet Your Student to Student Recruiter: Erika Kringen

We’re continuing our profiles on student to student recruiters, and this week we’ll learn a little more about sophomore in food science Erika Kringen!

“As long as I can remember, I have always read through the nutrition label of any food product before eating it or using it to cook,” said Kringen. “I did this and continue to do this because I’m genuinely interested in what makes up the food we eat.”

That interest led her to K-State, where Kringen said she found the perfect environment for her undergrad education. “I like K-State because of the endless opportunities it has brought me, not just through my education but outside activities like clubs and my sorority,” said Kringen. “By having these opportunities I have met some of my best friends and have learned so much through my education that will help me in my future career.”

Her decision to major in food science was the result of a lifelong curiosity. “I was drawn to food science because I was always interested in the components that make up food,” said Kringen. “I wanted to better understand how food made is from farms or productions facilities to the consumer.”

Her major has allowed her to focus on the details of food, as well as the production aspects. “By receiving an education in food science, I’m learning how the amount of certain ingredients, like sugar, affect the way food tastes, looks and feels,” said Kringen. “Also, since beginning my studies, I’m starting to understand the chemical aspects of food. I’m learning how we can produce food in ways that keep it safe for people to consume, as well as producing new food products all together.”

Becoming a student to recruiter allows Kringen to show potential students the opportunities a degree in food science can afford them. According to Kringen, there are some difficult decisions that come with choosing a degree path. Kringen hopes to make these tough decisions easier on the potential students.

This summer, Kringen will be a Student Research Assistant in a Post-Harvest Physiology lab at the K-State Olathe campus. “I’m excited to learn and understand what goes into research,” said Kringen. “As well as apply what I have learned through my food science education this summer.”

Meet Your Student to Student Recruiter: Halle Sparks

By Maggie Stanton

The Food Science Institute has recently selected four undergraduate students as student to student recruiters. We’re so excited to welcome them to the team, and introduce them to everyone!

Halle Sparks was immediately drawn to K-State during her first visit. “It totally defied my expectations,” said Sparks. “I didn’t expect to fall in love with the school so quickly and feel a warm attachment to this place I now could call ‘home.’”

Although Sparks originally began her college career as a biology major, she quickly realized it wasn’t for her. A mentor advised her to explore food science as a possibility, and soon, Sparks knew she had found the right place. “I was welcomed into the major with open arms by my advisor and professors and immediately, I was hooked,” said Sparks. “I appreciate the versatility of the program and as I have progressed throughout my classes, I realize that food science is the perfect combination of art, creativity and science that I had been looking for, for so long.”

Now a senior, Sparks wouldn’t change a thing. “My professors and peers are incredibly friendly and are always willing to support me,” said Sparks. “I feel like I am getting a great education and am applying what I learn in class to everyday life.”

Sparks hopes to use her new position as a student to student recruiter to advocate for people and point them to the program. “I wish I had someone talk to me about food science before I came to K-State, or at least at the beginning of my college career,” said Sparks. “Diversity is very important to me, and being a recruiting leader would also give me the chance to get more minority groups involved in the STEM and agricultural fields.”

In addition to spending the summer training in the recruiting program, Sparks is also taking courses and working. She loves being a part of the Food Science Institute, and added “Call Hall Ice Cream is pretty great as well!”

The Food Science Institute will be at IFT 2017

The Food Science Institute is excited to announce that we will be attending the 2017 IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo at Sands Expo, Las Vegas, NV June 25-28!

With over 20,000 attendees, 100 sessions, and 1,200 exhibitors, IFT17 promises to offer a variety of ideas “to provide each and every person on the planet with a safe, nutritious and sustainable food supply,” according to their website.

“The most creative minds in the science of food and technology will be waiting for you at IFT17,” via IFT17’s website. “Share and be challenged by the latest research, innovative solutions and groundbreaking thinking. Take advantage of limitless opportunities to make new connections and expand your professional contacts. Immerse yourself into a community committed to driving innovation and global sustainability.”

The Food Science Institute will be sharing booth #3670 with Masters of Agribusiness (MAB). K-State Global Campus representatives will also be in attendance. And of course, Willy the Wildcat will be there to say hello!

Whether you’re an alumni or curious about the food science industry, we encourage you to attend IFT17 and visit our booth. Learn more about our programs, attend sessions on the industry, and take a selfie with Willie!

Undergraduate Updates

Just because classes are out, doesn’t mean our food science undergraduates will take a break! Here’s what our students have been up to in May…

ASI/FDSCI Undergraduate Research Symposium

The Spring 2017 ASI/FDSCI Undergraduate Research Symposium was held on May 9 in Weber Arena with 37 students presenting the results of their undergraduate research projects. The course-based undergraduate research project was funded by Koch Industries, Inc. Programmatic support from Ron Gustafson allowed for 4 students to be recognized as Outstanding Undergraduate Researchers, each earning $500 awards.

Award winners included:

* Jessica Baker, senior in food science and industry, mentored by Dr. Jayendra Amamcharla. Project: Effect of whey protein isolate concentration on color, texture, viscosity, and spread of pancakes

* Christopher Hall, mentored by Dr. Jaymelynn Farney. Project: Determining potential for on-farm fecal collection for DNA extraction

* Madison Moniz, mentored by Dr. Cassie Jones. Project: Use of exogenous xylanase for improvement of nutrient digestibility in broiler chicks

* Abbie Smith, mentored by Dr. Cassie Jones. Project: Effects of monensin sodium and xylanase on broiler growth performance

FDSCI Students Received Scholarships from Education Abroad 

The following FDSCI student was awarded a scholarship from Education Abroad for study abroad during Summer/Fall 2017.

* Tara Cook, senior in food science and industry, Atwood, CO – $500 Faculty-Led Program Scholarship for India – advisor is Dr. Karen Schmidt

Mortar Board Selects Food Science Student

Mortar Board Senior Honor Society at Kansas State University has selected its new members for the 2017-2018 school year. The 29 students are charged with upholding the organization’s ideals of leadership, scholarship and service on the university campus and in the Manhattan community.

Congratulations to our own Megan Steward, senior in food science and industry from Garden City, KS!

For more updates on K-Staters in the food science program, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Alumni Spotlight: Matt Krug

Matt KrugWhen he first arrived to K-State, Matt Krug wasn’t sure where his studies would take him, until taking Intro to Food Science as an elective pointed him in the right direction. “I was interested in going to professional school to become a medical doctor, dentist, or optometrist,” said Krug. “I decided to make food science my major because a food science degree is a good prerequisite to those professional schools, but also gives you a useful degree towards obtaining a good job upon completion of a bachelor’s degree.”

A strong interest in food microbiology led Krug to pursue his master’s degree in food science. He recently graduated and completed his defense seminar entitled, “Evaluating the Efficacy of Commonly Used Antimicrobials in the Beef Industry for Controlling Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli Contamination on Chilled Beef Subprimals and Pre-Rigor Carcass Sides.”

“The program opened many doors for me in the advancement of my career,” said Krug. “I was given tremendous research and collaboration opportunities that look great on my resume and deepened my knowledge in food science. Beyond that, I built strong relationships with professors (both at K-State and other institutions), industry partners and fellow grad students who will continue to be great resources to me even after I have left the university. I also made a few lifelong friends.”

For students considering a master’s degree in food science, Krug encourages students to look for opportunities with faculty. “I would highly recommend that interested students get in touch with any or all of the food science faculty,” said Krug. “They are all willing to sit down with you and discuss your future. There are also undergraduate worker positions available in many of the labs which could give someone hands-on experience and help them decide if grad school something they want to pursue. Don’t be afraid to talk to any of the faculty; they all want to see the program succeed and are constantly in search of qualified students.”

Krug began his new job in April, working as a State Specialized Extension Agent, Food Science with the University of Florida, based at the UF – Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC) located near Immokalee, FL. Krug will be helping teach workshops in the area of food safety and food entrepreneurship. He is also in charge of a food quality lab at a local culinary business accelerator that is currently under construction in Immokalee.

Despite the distance, Krug said he is already making plans to return to K-State. “I will miss being able to easily go to the football and basketball games, but am looking forward to flying in and reuniting with family and friends at a couple of games this fall,” said Krug.

Krug’s major professor was Dr. Randall K. Phebus. For more information on the graduate program, please visit here.

Alumni Spotlight: Megan Angermayer

By Maggie Stanton

Megan AngermayerMegan Angermayer has just completed her first year at University of South Carolina School of Medicine. While it’s been exhausting, the former K-State student has been able to utilize her knowledge from her undergraduate degree in food science.

“We had a learning topic the other day about food borne illness and I could really shine,” said Angermayer. “It was pretty much food science microbiology and I really enjoyed it.”

Angermayer was initially drawn to food science while planning for her future in medical school. “The curriculum overlapped with pre-med very well, while also providing me a great back-up plan if I decided medicine wasn’t for me,” said Angermayer.

Angermayer found that the supportive network in the food science program was exactly what she was looking for. “Everyone is very friendly, there is a lot of opportunity for taking cool electives, and there were lots of resources to help students succeed,” said Angermayer. “I especially liked my advisor, Dr. Karen Schmidt, who helped steer me in the right direction.”

Angermayer advises students to study hard, and begin working on building their resume early. She also recommends undergraduates enjoy their free time, since that tends to disappear in graduate school.

Although she’s currently thousands of miles away, Angermayer hasn’t forgotten her four years at K-State. “(I miss) being outside because I’m inside all the time in med school,” said Angermayer. “Also, being able to convince anyone to walk to Sonic or Fuzzy’s Tacos at pretty much any time of day.”

For more information on the food science pre-medicine degree, please visit: http://foodsci.k-state.edu/future-students/ugcurriculum.html

Things to do in Manhattan

We’re very excited to see our graduate students this weekend for graduation! Since many of you will be coming to Manhattan for the first time, here’s a list of places to visit if you have the time.

Sunset Zoo

Sunset Zoo is open Saturday-Sunday 9:30 a.m. – 5p.m. This zoo has a unique layout, follow the path to catch a glimpse of animals from various continents, or explore on your own and check out the large section of the zoo devoted to the Kansas Plains.


Flint Hills Discovery Center

This museum is especially devoted to the wonders and history of the Flint Hills. Exhibits include Shaping Winds & Waters; Blowing Winds in a Tallgrass Prairie; The Underground Forest; Winds of the Past; Where the Air is so Pure; Voices of the Flint Hills; and Stepping into the Prairie.


Bourbon & Baker

The trendy restaurant is designed to allow visitors to enjoy as many smaller portion plates as they can handle. It’s located along Poyntz Avenue, which makes for a lovely post-dinner walk.



Pillsbury Crossing

If the weather is warm and sunny, take a trek on down to Pillsbury, a 60 feet long, 5 feet high waterfall a few miles southeast of Manhattan. It’s open 24/7 and is free to the public.



Arrow Coffee

Arrow has a unique range of coffee for the caffeine connoisseur. They specialize in hand crafted everything; coffee, cocktails, and food.




K-State Insect Zoo

Open Tuesday-Friday 1pm to 6pm and Saturday 12pm to 6 pm, the Insect Zoo is a fun way to see the various insect habitats and environments, housed in the old Dairy Barn.



Varsity Donuts

Varsity is a staple for many students in Manhattan. By day, you can stop by the shop and grab a donut (or more). On Thursday, Friday and Saturday night after 10 p.m., the store closes and the food truck opens, serving late night food needs with items like grilled cheese mac ‘n’ cheese and bacon fritters for anyone who steps in line.

Konza Prairie

The Nature Trails of this native tallgrass prairie preserve are open to the public from dawn to dusk. Nature walks can vary based on which trail you take; Nature Trail is 2.6 miles, Kings Creek Loop is 4.6 miles, and Godwin Hill Loop is 6.2 miles. While there, it’s important to observe and follow the rules, as the Konza Prairie is used for research. You can find posted rules here.

If you need space to walk your dog, we recommend checking out the Washington Marlatt Memorial Park, which is sometimes called “The Little Konza,” or Linear Trail.

ACME Gift Shop

Let this be your last stop before you leave the ‘hat. Be sure to pick up a quirky gift or memento to commemorate your time in Manhattan.

Congratulations on graduating, we can’t wait to show you all that Manhattan has to offer!

Student Spotlight: Macy Sherwin

By Maggie Stanton


Macy Sherwin, senior in food science and winner of the Outstanding Senior Award, found her food science calling in high school. “I was part of a biotechnology program that my high school puts on and in the program we’re required to do a senior research project,” said Sherwin. “I did mine on the effect of cinnamon in bread mold because my grandmother actually picked up leftover bread from supermarkets and donated it. The shelf life on those products is obviously decreased, so I wanted to find a way to increase the shelf life and cinnamon has antimicrobial properties.”

From there, Sherwin went on to shadow at K-State Olathe and attended K-State Open House. According to Sherwin, the importance and prevalence of food in everyday life drew her to food science. She said she’s enjoyed figuring out how to produce safe, quality food for consumers.

Since arriving at K-State, Sherwin has kept busy. Working as a lab assistant for Professor Aramouni, becoming captain of the quiz bowl team, and reshaping the food science club all played a major role in Sherwin’s undergraduate involvement.

The food science club in particular holds many memories for Sherwin, who was responsible for creating the social chair position, before eventually becoming president of the club. In addition to preparing recipes, the club orchestrated a food safety project during tailgate at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Members passed out meat thermometers and aprons, and educated patrons on the importance of food safety, leading many to begin using the free equipment.

Following graduation, Sherwin will be moving to Minneapolis to work in Cargill’s salt production. She credits the internships she had for preparing her for her next step.

“I’ve had 3 internships throughout college and they’ve all taught me something different,” said Sherwin. “Don’t be afraid to accept a position that you might not be interested in, because it can help you work towards a bigger goal. One summer, I worked at a beef plant. It wasn’t my favorite job by any means, but I learned more about the food industry that summer than I did during my time in any class. Then, it lead to my internship I had last summer, and my full-time position now.”

Sherwin advises other students to make the most of their time in the food science program. “Get involved in the program, join the club, have internships, and don’t be afraid to ask for different opportunities because the professors are really great here and will help you,” said Sherwin.

Upon finding out she would be the Outstanding Senior Award recipient, Sherwin said she was “really honored and flattered.” With such a remarkable undergraduate career, it’s no wonder she was selected!


Product Development Team is Selected for 2017 National Dairy Council New Product Competition

By Maggie Stanton


The food science product development team consisting of K-State food science undergraduate students Mayla Kritski Baez and Conrad Kabus and graduate student Karthik Sajith Babu were recently selected as one of the “Top 3” outstanding student teams in the 2017 National Dairy Council New Product Competition. The team advisor is Dr. Jayendra Amamcharla.

The product, “Mate Au Lait Protein Plus,” was selected for, among other factors, “(a) great tasting product, unique process to create flavors, strong written report, and good use of whole milk,” according to the judges report. The challenge for this competition was to develop a dairy-based drink of choice for 15-25 year olds.

The first, second and third-place winners of the competition will be announced on Tuesday, June 27th at the American Dairy Science Association Joint Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, PA.

Graduate Student Spotlight: Marla Yerges

by Maggie Stanton


Marla YergesOriginally, when Marla Yerges began her undergraduate degree, her goal was to become a veterinarian. As she continued to pursue chemistry at Indiana University, she found herself drawn to the food science industry through various internships, and discovered a love for product development.

Yerges found herself working at a protein ingredient development company, looking to further her education. “When I started working in my current job, they encouraged me to get my masters,” said Yerges. “I wanted to study food science. I live in St. Louis and they don’t offer that.” This led Yerges to search for online programs, and found K-State’s online graduate program in food science.

Yerges visited K-State to get a feel for the program, and immediately liked what she saw. “We came here to visit and we talked with Dr. Fadi Aramouni and it seemed like a good fit,” said Yerges.

Married with a small child, Yerges said the flexibility of the online program worked better for her as opposed to a traditional program. The online component allowed her to study around her job and her child’s schedule.

Yerges advises online students to be well-prepared and organized when pursuing their graduate degree. “If you do want to pursue the online degree, just make sure that you’re highly organized,” said Yerges. “If you don’t stay organized, you’re going to pass up lectures to watch, you’re going to pass up assignments and pop quizzes, so you have to really be active.”

Yerges also managed to fit an in-person class into her schedule. With the recent passing of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), Yerges took a three-day course to become certified, and would encourage other students to do the same, if possible. “If you have the opportunity to do that, you feel like you’re part of the school,” said Yerges.

Additionally, Yerges suggests visiting the school beforehand and getting to know the faculty. Yerges said doing so before classes began helped her get to know her professors and the online setup.

Yerges realizes that defense seminars, the final portion of the graduate program, can seem intimidating at first. She recently wrapped up her defense seminar, “Food Protein Enzyme Hydrolysis and Substance Effects Using Soy Protein and Dairy Whey Isolates,” and said the experience “wasn’t as scary as I thought it was going to be.”

Finally, Yerges takes every opportunity while in Manhattan to purchase K-State gear. She recently picked up a K-State shirt for her son, so he can be ready when she walks across the stage to get her diploma this May.

Graduate Student Spotlight: John Frederick

by Maggie Stanton


John FrederickFor 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.

Alumni Spotlight: Julie Bitter

By Maggie Stanton


Julie BitterGrowing up on a farm in Hoisington, KS, food science and industry alumni Julie Bitter was always drawn to the idea of studying agriculture. A visit to K-State during Senior Day showed her the possibilities of a degree in food science and industry. “I found it to be an interesting field that expanded on my love of cooking and baking,” said Bitter. “It was neat to understand the science behind why you need to have the pancake batter ‘just right.’ As I explored more into the field of food science I realized there’s a wide array of avenues to work in such as product development, biology, chemistry, processing, HACCP development, or even biosecurity.”

A pre-med focus helped Bitter tailor her undergrad experience to suit her needs. “I was able to take more pre-med courses such as human body and genetics,” said Bitter. “I was also given the opportunity to study abroad in Italy and expand my knowledge on culture and food processing outside of the U.S.”

Now in occupational therapy school at Rockhurst University, Bitter said her undergrad degree helped her stand out in applications for graduate school, and soon, for the workforce. Her undergraduate courses also enhanced her problem solving and clinical application skills. “Just as you determine what is the missing ingredient or proper chemical formula in food science, you determine what is the best treatment plan for your patient,” said Bitter.

Bitter cites the leadership experience she gained in food science as essential, and encourages other undergraduates to be involved on campus. “My leadership in the food science club helped me to discover new opportunities along with network with many people,” said Bitter.

The enduring friendships were made easier by the welcoming environment at K-State, something Bitter said she misses. “I have developed lifelong friendships from many of the people I met at K-State,” she said, adding, “Go Cats!”

Alumni Spotlight: Jeffrey Maiden

by Maggie Stanton


Our alumni in the food science and industry program come from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. Jeffrey Maiden already had experience in the food industry, but he wanted to take a different direction.

Now a Food Service Manager for K-State Housing & Dining Services, Maiden was originally enrolled in a culinary program. He worked as a chef in Los Angeles, but found that the 70-80 hour workweek left him with very little free time. Looking to continue his education in a related field without the long hours, Maiden found that Jeff Maidenfood science and industry lent itself well to the 40-hour workweek.

“I appreciated the number of options that existed,” said Maiden when asked what drew him to the program. He also cited the excellent location and accessibility that the food science and industry major provided.

Wanting to stay in Manhattan following graduation, Maiden applied to be a Food Service Supervisor through Housing & Dining Services. Management, however, saw his potential and informed him of another vacancy, leading to where he is now.

“It’s never the same,” said Maiden about why he enjoys his work. Constant product testing, recipe development, and problem solving keep him on his toes. Having never lived in the residence halls himself, Maiden said learning the ropes provided a new experience in a supportive environment.

Maiden advises food science and industry students to take on internships early in their undergraduate career, adding, “It’s never too early.” He also encourages students to begin networking before they graduate and be patient during the job-hunting process. If a student is well prepared and organized, it opens up a world of possibilities.

Alumni Spotlight: Paul Lewis

by Maggie Stanton


Food Science alumni Paul Lewis began his K-State journey as a biology major. A degree in food science and industry certainly wasn’t what he had in mind when he first arrived on campus. In fact, if it wasn’t for the encouragement of his fraternity brothers, Lewis said he probably never would’ve majored in food science and industry in the first place.

Paul LewisInitially, Lewis said he hadn’t considered a program within the College of Agriculture because he hadn’t grown up on a farm and had little exposure to the industry. However, Lewis encourages those who are unfamiliar with agriculture to check out the food science and industry major, as there’s so much opportunity within the field. For Lewis in particular, it’s led him to the University of Nebraska Medical Center where he is currently studying in the College of Dentistry.

Lewis said the science-oriented aspect of food science and industry is what drew him into the program. “I liked the aspect of food science in that it was an applied science and I could see it used on a more everyday basis,” said Lewis. “I really enjoyed my time and the courses within food science. I found the curriculum very interesting.”

One of the challenges that came with switching his major was making sure his courses aligned with both food science and industry and pre-health. Lewis encourages students to take the same level of caution when choosing their courses so every requirement is met.

Pre-health and food science and industry may seem like an odd combination, but Lewis said that the same fraternity brothers who encouraged him to switch to food science and industry also had a pre-health focus. Two went onto medical school, and one is now in optometry school.

The community at K-State was also a big factor for Lewis. He said he’s noticed he speaks more fondly of his undergraduate experience than his dental school peers do, thanks in part to the accepting environment that allows students to flourish.

While he toured other universities with pre-health focuses, Lewis said the expensive equipment and lavish buildings couldn’t compare to the support network found at K-State. Said Lewis, “When you graduate, you don’t take the buildings with you, you take the relationships you’ve made.”


To learn more about a degree in food science and industry, please click here.

Alumni Spotlight: Amelia Govert

by Maggie Stanton


Amelia Govert began her K-State journey as a general agricultural major. “I grew up in a small town in Kansas on a farm,” said Govert. “So I was always interested in the College of Agriculture and liked it a lot.”

An interest in agriculture, science, and K-State runs in the family. Govert said her siblings all attend or have attended K-State; her brother is currently studying animal science, her older sister graduated in kinesiology, and her other sister studied agricultural economics.

Govert baseameliad her decision to major in food science on her goals for her future. Now a student at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Physician Assistant (PA) program, Govert said the food science program gave her a good plan B if she found out PA school wasn’t for her. With an 100 percent job placement rate, Govert felt she had a wide range of options beyond PA school.

As a PA student, Govert said she wouldn’t change anything about her decision to major in food science, adding that it helped her stand out in her PA school applications, and it continues to help in her career field .

She’s also found the course work she took as an undergrad to be very relevant to her studies now. “I’ve been surprised and thankful by how much my education has helped me,” said Govert. Her studies have tackled everything from learning about foodborne illnesses, labeling of foods, and understanding the science behind food processing so she is able to explain to diabetic patients what they can and cannot eat. In fact, Govert said her Food Science background helped her to be able to educate a doctor on the misinformation he was presenting about antibiotics in dairy products.

Govert advises students in the food science pre-health option to think ahead. “Try to make your schedule pertain to medicine or food in general, so it’s pertinent when you get to professional school,” said Govert. “Be involved as much as possible, get good grades and network, because that’s going to matter.” She also encourages students to obtain a food science internship and study abroad so they get a better understanding of the field.

Finally, Govert says make sure you enjoy your time at K-State. “I miss everything about K-State,” said Govert. “I really miss being able to walk around campus and see people you know. It just feels like home.”


FDSCI Product Development Purple Passion Team Heading to Puerto Rico

The Food Science Product Development Purple Passion team will be heading to San Juan, Puerto Rico to compete at the RCA Culinology® Pastry Competition March 14-17, 2017. The team members are: Kyle Phalen (graduate student), Austin Weber (sophomore), Erin Manville (freshman), and Kyle Johnson (junior), the students were supervised by Dr. Kelly Getty, Associate Professor in Food Science. The Purple Passion Team will be competing with their Puerto Rican Style Mango Rum Cake with Spice Mango Coulis. This quick dessert is a microwavable cake developed with traditional Puerto Rican pastry concepts.

At the RCA 2017 Culinology® Pastry Competition, the Purple Passion Team will have access to a kitchen space where they will prep and become familiar with the space and get ready for the actual competition day. The day of the competition, the team will have 1.75 hours to get their product ready for Judging evaluation. The criteria that the teams will be evaluated are:

Gold Standard Criteria: Flavor and Aroma, Texture, Ingredient Composition/Authenticity, Presentation,and Professionalism

Culinology® Match Test: Flavor and Aroma, Texture, Presentation, Overall Similarity to Gold Standard, Overall Similarity to Sell Sheet Photo, Easy and Accuracy of Preparation Instructions.


The Purple Passion Rum Cake with Spice Mango Coulis Label was created by one of our food science students, Conrad Kabus, Junior in Food Science and Student Video/Graphic Designer in the Food Science Institute.  The K-State Food Science Product Development Purple Passion Team will be competing against 3 other schools. Congratulations to them and Good Luck at the Competition!



Graduate Students take Cheesy-Pack Cracker to AACCI


Since March 2016, four K-State Food Science graduate students have been working on a new product called Cheesy-Pack Cracker. The product development team members include Lu Wang, Karolina Sanchez, Gagan Gandhi, and Bingyi Li. Their goal was to create an egg-free, high protein, salty granola bar.

The Cheesy-Pack Cracker is described as a ready-to-eat cracker snack. To replace the eggs, they used natural flax seed flour as the binder. This is beneficial for those with egg allergies and it lowers the calorie content. To increase the protein, cheese powder was mixed into the dough. This improves color and adds a rich flavor. The cracker also has whole grain ingredients to increase fiber content. In the end, this savory cracker will satisfy any snack craving.img_0325

After many trials and errors, the team remained optimistic and entered the product into the American Association of Cereal Chemists International (AACCI) product development competition. Their hard work was rewarded as they were chosen to be a finalist in the competition.

The students will be attending the AACCI annual meeting to compete in the competition in Savannah, GA from October 22-26, 2016. They will compete against four other national college teams. This competition challenges the students to be innovative and promotes a connection between academics and industry. Best of luck to our K-State product development team!

The team’s advisors are Drs. Karen Schmidt and Jayendra Amamcharla.



Contributors and Editors: Karen Blakeslee, Bryanna Cook and Elsa Toburen

Pictures by Elsa Toburen

Cargill Visits K-State to Discuss Future Opportunities for Students

Recently, Lindsey Jansen from Cargill’s Corn Milling North America division visited Dr. Phebus’ Introduction to Food Science (FDSCI 302) class to provide an overview of Cargill’s business divisions and to discuss how corn is processed into many important food and industrial products, such as high fructose corn syrup. Lindsey discussed internship opportunities in her manufacturing division for science-oriented students, and provided several food science undergraduate students guidance on submitting applications to be considered for positions during summer 2017. Cargill was one of several companies on campus last week (Sept 20-22, 2016) for the K-State Career Fair, and we want to thank them all for supporting our program and our students.


Celebrating 41 years of Service and Leadership

Curtis and family A retirement dinner was held on Saturday, September 3rd for Dr. Curtis L. Kastner, former Director of the Food Science Institute. The event was held at the Stanley Stout Center.

It was a great night! More than 160 people came to celebrate Dr. Kastner’s retirement from Kansas State University!  Family, friends, colleagues old and new, students and staff came to honor Dr. Kastner and Rebecca, who spent 41 years at Kansas State University. Curtis retired in July to spend time with his wife Rebecca and enjoy their free time with their family. Continue reading “Celebrating 41 years of Service and Leadership”