Kansas State University


Food Science Institute

Food Science Alum Returns to Interview Students


By Morgan Wolfe



Returning to her old stomping grounds, Rachel Pearson, a 2015 K-State graduate traveled back to Manhattan last week in hunt to find the best-fitting students for the posterity of her represented company, Land O’ Lakes.

Rachel began her college career in the pre-veterinary program. It wasn’t until she took Dr. Phebus’ Introduction to Food Science class that she noticed a shift in her attention. “I found food science to be a very engaging subject for me,” said Rachel.

“Dr. Phebus’ intro class definitely peaked my interest in food science for sure. I had a follow-up meeting with him shortly after and realized his passion for food science. He quickly revealed the impact and opportunities that food science has,

so I started weighing the factors, advantages and disadvantages.  Then I decided that I would have a lot more going for me if I switched over to food science.”

Rachel has been working for Land O’ Lakes for about three years. She first worked for the company during her junior year where they shipped her off to Orland, California for a summer internship.

“I remember one of the first things they asked me during my initial interview was, ‘Are you willing to relocate,'” Rachel mentioned. “And I said, ‘I want to get out of Kansas. I want to see what the world has to offer.” She enjoyed her internship so much that the following summer she accepted another intern position with Land O’ Lakes; this time in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Rachel now works at the Minnesota Land O’ Lakes branch where she just started her second year in a program called TAP (training).

“It’s a broad training course where you get exposure to the plant. It includes anything from sourcing to environmental health and safety to quality as well as production,” Rachel explained. “You learn how each part of the process plays a role in making the final product.”

Rachel started her first year of the program down in Texas doing feed. Although she loved it, she realized she loved dairy more. She is currently back in R&D butter and spreads team in Minnesota until she finishes training and is relocated to another plant.

“At Land O’ Lakes, you really make your own career,” Rachel stated. “Land O’ Lakes is very supportive if you have an interest. Go for it. That’s why I enjoy coming back to K-State to interview students.

I love talking about Land O’ Lakes and the opportunities within the company and how it plays a part in making the world a better place.”

Rachel interviewed food science students here in Manhattan for two days. She and her colleague, Daniel Coen (KSU Food Science Alumni), really wanted to find those special students whom they know would do well at Land O’ Lakes.

“We want students to feel comfortable during the interview process. It’s more of a get-to-know you process on both sides,” Rachel noted.

“We are looking for someone who has those true values, takes integrity very seriously and is not afraid to get their hands dirty and get the job done. At the same time, we also look for people who really value the impact that Land O’ Lakes has in the world and people who are passionate about making a difference.”



Tips & Tricks for the Best Career Fair Interview

By Morgan Wolfe


The K-State Career Fair is scheduled for September 19-21, 2017 at Bramlage Coliseum from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and we are so excited for our K-State food science students to show the real world what they are made of! If you haven’t registered, please do so before September 18 by visiting the Career Center in the Berney Family Welcome Center. We know all of you will do extremely well; but just as a reminder, here are a few job interview tips to help you stand out. Good luck students!

Study Up

Before you interview, research the company’s earnings calls, quarterly reports and blog posts. Bring up one of their current projects in your interview to show that you really did your homework and know what they are working on. Express your interest and concern in what they do so that they can see you would be an excellent attribute to their company.

First Impressions are Everything

Employers are busy. Show them that spending their time on you is an investment. Arrive early. Be polite. Extend warm greetings to everyone you meet from the company. Employers want to see that you are intentional and treat others with kindness. Make a strong first impression by dressing appropriately, demonstrating professional body language and speaking with enthusiasm, confidence and positivity.

Craft your Story

Instead of just reading down your resume, think of five things you really want to communicate to the interviewer. What do you want them to remember about you? What makes you stand out? Talk about your past jobs that are most relevant to position you are interviewing for.

Walk the Walk

Have a portfolio already put together with some of your best work samples or project highlights inside. This collection can be physical or digital. Show the employer that you haven’t just recited material that you learned in class, but instead that you have practiced and experienced it firsthand and are ready to use your skills to benefit the company.

Always Thank the Interviewer

Before you interview, have a thank you card already addressed and ready to go in your bag or notebook. After your interview, take five minutes to sit down elsewhere and write a thank you note. Include a few points you talked about in your interview to show the employer that you didn’t pre-write one. Drop it in the mail. Your letter should get to them two or three days after the interview – perfect time to remind them of you and get them thinking about that next point of contact.

Student Spotlight: Carla Schwan

By Morgan Wolfe



After living in Brazil for 22 years, Carla Schwan decided to step out of her comfort zone and step into the United States. Upon finishing two years of her undergraduate degree in Brazil, Carla knew she needed to aim high in order to fulfill the rest of her dreams. “I applied for a program called “Science Without Borders,” said Carla. “It was a government program that gave students the financial opportunity to further their education globally for a year. It was highly selective. The entire process took three months.”

When she received the news that she had been selected, Carla experienced a variety of emotions. “I was very excited to come to Kansas, but also so scared,” Carla noted. “I had only learned English for five months in Brazil. I wasn’t sure how I was going to communicate with people!”

She adjusted quickly though. “I learned most of my English here in the labs at K-State. After that, I used sticky notes for everything. I put one on the wall that said wall, I put one of the mirror that said mirror, I put one on the chair that said chair. Eventually, I got it.”

Carla completed her junior year at K-State in food science then returned to Brazil to finish the rest of her bachelor’s degree in food science and technology at the Federal University of Santa Maria. She had no idea she would return to Kansas until Dr. Randy Phebus called her one day. “ He asked if I wanted to come back for my master’s degree for the next two years,” Carla mentioned. “So of course, I did.”

Carla focused on antimicrobial interventions to minimize the risk of Escherichia coli in beef and did most of her master’s research in the Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI) and at the Food Safety and Defense Laboratory at K-State working under Dr. Phebu’s supervision. She has returned to K-State to continue working on her PhD in Food Science. She is currently researching Shiga toxin-producing E. coli as part of a 25 million dollar STEC CAP USDA project. Carla works under Dr. Phebus as he is a key investigator in the project. The rest of her PhD research will be under Dr. Jessie Vipham, Assistant Professor in animal science and industry at K-State. “Dr. Vipham has given me the opportunity to work with her in Ethiopia. One of the goals of this project is to develop a basic food safety training program that focuses on meat safety. Additionally, I’ll be collaborating in the development of a food safety master’s program in Ethiopia.”

Although Carla is very excited to study abroad yet again, she is equally thrilled to soak in another year back at K-State. “I love the environment here,” said Carla. “I’ve been to many universities in the United States and K-State is by far the most welcoming. There is an overwhelming sense of help and generosity here; it really helped me when I first got here and didn’t know English very well.”

We are very excited to welcome Carla back for the third time, and we look forward to all the brilliant things she will do this year in her research as well as next year while she works in Ethiopia.

KC-IFT in the Little Apple

By Morgan Wolfe



On Friday, August 25 our students were given the opportunity to dip their toes into the vast waters of the food science industry when the Kansas City Section Institute of Food Technologists (KC-IFT) hosted a networking and scholarship event here in Manhattan, KS..

As one of 53 regional sections of the IFT organization, KC-IFT serves as a major source for food industry opportunities. With over 17,000 members, KC-IFT represents all areas of work in the food industry such as manufacturing, retail/consumer goods, research and product development, process engineering and more. The organization strives to link industry professionals with academic personnel in order to stimulate growth and development in food technology.

Students, faculty and IFT members were invited to attend a presentation and tour by the American Institute of Baking International (AIB) as well to a scholarship awards dinner and social networking event at the K-State Alumni Center. Industry guests included businesses like Infor, Cereal Ingredients, Kerry Ingredients, Ardent Mills, Richardson Milling, Bunting Magnetics as well as numerous other local companies. Students were given the opportunity to visit with the members of these companies over a nice meal catered by Coco Bolos.

Following dinner, KC-IFT president, Carmelo Marafioti announced the undergraduate and graduate student scholarship recipients. A big congratulation goes out to Janelle Debus and Karthik Pandalaneni. Janelle is a junior studying nutrition and kinesiology. She hopes to attend physical therapy school after she graduates, but is still in the process of finding a school that is suitable for her. Karthik is a PhD student in food science. He has attended K-State for three and a half years and is currently researching dairy processing; his major professor is Dr. Amamcharla. Both students demonstrated their merit with impressive academic achievements and outstanding personal resumes. We are eager to see who will win this scholarship again next year.

“We hope to host more KC-IFT events in the future,” said Marafioti. KC-IFT recently welcomed Dr. Sara Gragg, assistant professor in food science as the new president of the organization. Dr. Gragg’s experience in the food industry makes her an ideal fit for the position; she has traveled extensively presenting on the topic of food safety and studying processes of food safety and microbiology, and she currently works in the Animal Health Corridor at K-State Olathe campus.

We look forward to the next KC-IFT function and can’t wait to hear what Dr. Gragg has in store for the organization. The next KC-IFT meeting is likely to be held in spring 2018.

Get to Know Your Professors: Dr. Phebus

Dr. Randall Phebus has long had a love for food science. In fact, it all began as he was growing up.

“My mom and dad in Waverly, Tennessee have been in the grocery business for over 50 years, and I began working for them at the age of 14,” said the newly-named Interim Director of the K-State Food Science Institute. “This afforded me the opportunity to learn quite a bit about food marketing, processing hygiene, packaging and labeling, and consumer behaviors and expectations.  At the time, I didn’t know that all of these things are basically defined as ‘food science,’ but I knew it was interesting to me.”

In 1981, he enrolled at the University of Tennessee (UT) as an Animal Science major, with the goal of applying to UT’s College of Veterinary Medicine. A chance meeting with a faculty member in food science, however, changed Phebus’ path for the better.

“A faculty member talked to me and convinced me that the career opportunities I would have as a food science major would be great,” said Phebus. “I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in food science focusing on food safety. I also loved college and was afforded the opportunity to work as a Teaching Assistant in several food science courses at UT while in graduate school. I developed a passion for working with students, and ultimately decided to become a professor.”

There are many aspects of teaching that make the field so rewarding, but Phebus singles out two in particular. “First, I genuinely enjoy working with young people who are curious and excited about science, and I think the field of food science is unparalleled for providing opportunities to integrate multiple scientific disciplines to generate applied solutions that can impact almost everyone in the world,” said Phebus. “Secondly, I myself am a science nerd. As a professor teaching food science, I have to study daily to stay abreast of the rapid advances occurring in technology, public health, and food manufacturing. Yes, I like to study science.”

In 2013, won the Elmer Marth Educator Award through the International Association for Food Protection. He cites it as a favorite teaching moment, thanks in part to those involved in making it all happen. “My former students put most of the nomination package together for selection committee evaluation, and a panel of my peers in food safety with many years of teaching at universities around the world made the determination,” said Phebus.

According to Phebus, K-State is a special place. “Within the College of Agriculture, the feelings of family and community are very apparent,” said Phebus. “I also enjoy K-State because of the broad diversity of interdisciplinary opportunities for students and faculty that exist across the campus targeting almost all elements of the complex global food system. I don’t think another university in the country can claim such a broad and in-depth approach to understanding and improving the whole food system.”

As someone who has studied food science for years, his opinion might be biased, but he encourages incoming students to look into the field. “There’s no better major in my opinion, if you would like to have a dynamic career in either a STEM discipline or some element of business,” said Phebus. “Think about it. By getting a food science undergraduate or graduate degree you can be a chemist, microbiologist, product developer, lawyer, regulator, engineer, procurement officer, marketer, writer or even a professor! Then you can go work in one of the biggest and most secure industries in the world doing great things to improve the lives of people.”

From the Interim Director’s Desk

It is with sincere gratitude and humbleness, and simultaneous excitement and determination, that I begin working as the Interim Director of the Food Science Institute (FSI). I know that everyone associated with the FSI has the goal of making the K-State food science program the best in the land, and I look forward to working with everyone, including our wonderful alumni, to continue to improve our program and the impact the Institute has on our students and stakeholders. First, I want to recognize and thank Dr. Curtis Kastner for the 15 years he spent as the FSI’s founding director. His passion for students and the development of FSI programs was phenomenal, and provided a very solid foundation for our future. He’s now officially an Emeritus professor and has assured me that he will continue to support our FSI efforts. Thanks also to Dr. Ken Odde and Elsa Toburen for taking care of the FSI shop over the past several months. Elsa is a “rock star” in the way she oversees and coordinates our business office activities.

We have very important business to accomplish for the FSI, and particularly for the undergraduate program. This includes a continued reevaluation of our B.S. curriculum (course offerings, course content, and scheduling and sequencing), and thanks to Dr. Karen Schmidt for her strong leadership to this initiative. Dr. Abbey Nutsch is bringing a new level of scrutiny to our formal food science program assessment activities, both undergraduate and graduate, and we will continue to look for ways to effectively utilize this assessment information to improve our academic programs. We are focusing a high level of attention to undergraduate student recruitment, and the recruitment committee is energetically initiating a campaign to draw the brightest students possible into our Science and Operations Management (Business) options. There are no better majors than Food Science & Industry here at K-State, and we must get the word out across Kansas, the region and even the nation!

In an interim position, you never know how much time you have to accomplish your goals; however, I’m asking everyone involved with the FSI to help me accomplish positive things for our food science program. Priorities for me include increasing interactions with industry stakeholders, increasing the number of student opportunities (eg., internships and scholarships, international experiences), having more productive engagement with our K-State Olathe colleagues and programs, synergizing with the K-State Global Food System Initiative for mutual benefit, and increasing Food Science student numbers. Please let me know when you have needs and/or ideas in which the FSI can assist, and students and faculty/staff, have a great Fall 2017 semester!

-Dr. Randall Phebus, Interim Director of the Food Science Institute

Abilene-Omitama Sister City Board visits FSI!

A connection program between two cities over 6,000 miles apart made its way to the Food Science Institute last week.

The City of Abilene’s Abilene-Omitama Sister City Board hosted the 16th delegation from Japan. 20 delegates from Omitama had arrived, 16 students and four adults.

The exchange takes place every year. The Japanese guests visit Abilene in odd years and Abilene sends a delegation to Japan in even years.

“The Sister City relationship developed from Japanese interns coming to the Harold Scanlan dairy farm to learn about U.S. dairy operations,” according to the Abilene RC. “In 1984, an agreement to form a Sister City relationship between Abilene and Minori, Japan, was signed. Since that time, adult and student delegations have made annual visits to each other’s towns.”

“The Sister City Committee has identified student exchanges/youth friendships, daily life experience and cultural experience as the main emphasis of the program.”

On Friday, the middle school students visited FSI to learn about food science. Dr. Fadi Aramouini and Dr. Kelly Getty, with the assistance of various food science students, provided a hands on experience for the visiting students.

This included teaching the students how to make chocolate chip cookies, learning about nutrition labels and the different kinds of American foods.

We hope these students enjoyed their stay and continue to learn more about exciting food science field!

Meet Morgan Wolfe!

Originally from Monument, CO, Morgan Wolfe was drawn to K-State from the very beginning. “I wore purple from the day I was born,” said Morgan. “I came to K-State because it’s where both my parents went to school and fell in love. I just always kind of knew it was my calling.”

This fall, Morgan will return to K-State to begin a new role. She will be joining the FSI team as the new Social Media and E-Newsletter Writer, and we couldn’t be happier to have her join us!

Morgan has had quite the busy summer juggling two jobs, the first with Momentum Advertising and PR. “I am responsible for doing all the PR and marketing work for a new neighborhood development called Banning Lewis Ranch,” said Morgan. “I write articles, work on quarterly magazines, coordinate concerts and special events, work with home-builders to promote their companies too, and have learned a lot about media buying as well.”

Her second summer job at Olson Plumbing and Heating has also provided valuable experience. “So far here I have written and developed the new summer commercial, done web-writing for the website, designed new business cards, infographics, and proposal documents, and put together promotional swag items for trade events,” said Morgan.

These work experiences have taught her a lot about her intended field. “Both jobs have helped me network tremendously,” said Morgan. “I’m really excited to graduate and begin a career soon.”

It’s a career she knows she’ll enjoy. “I like that public relations is so face-paced and people-oriented,” said Morgan. “Everything has deadlines, dates, and priorities to meet; and I’m constantly interacting with people, which makes the job way more fun.”

She’s hoping to bring the skills she developed and her excitement for the profession to the Food Science Institute. “I hope to get FSI noticed more around K-State and Manhattan, whether that be incorporating SnapChat, radio ads, or hosting special events for FSI around town,” said Morgan.

When she’s not working hard in her jobs or her classes, Morgan enjoys taking time for her various creative outlets; drawing caricatures of people or fun DIY projects. And of course, hanging out with her pet tarantula.

Morgan officially joins the FSI team August 20th! We’re thrilled to welcome her to the team, and she can’t wait to join it. “I’m super excited to join the FSI team and help promote the program,” said Morgan. “Not to mention also looking forward to taste testing all the FSI concoctions that will be created in the next year!”

The “gift that keeps on giving”… the Academic Resource Center!

In just a few short weeks, we’ll be welcoming incoming freshmen to the food science program! The first few weeks can be overwhelming for new students, so make sure to check out this important resource just for food science students.

Inside 216 Call Hall, you’ll find the Food Science Institute Academic Resource Center (FSI-ARC). This is designed to reduce the cost to students of obtaining an undergraduate food science degree by reducing the ever-increasing costs of buying textbooks each semester. Here, you’ll find multiple copies of textbooks for a wide variety of classes (see here for the full list). These textbooks can be checked out by food science students on a daily basis, or overnight if desired. This center was made possible thanks to a generous donation by Danisco.

Also in 216 Call Hall are two computers and a printer available to students for last-minute assignments and projects.

In addition, students can enjoy the Fountaine Reading Room Library, available so students may study without being disturbed. The library is also a useful space for group work, and contains multiple textbooks, journals, and magazines available for student use.

We hope our new students enjoy these resources as they begin their food science education. For any questions, please contact Elsa Toburen at etoburen@ksu.edu.


Student Spotlight: Georgia Pate

Georgia Pate has been working in confections for 11 years, beginning after high school. Her fascination with the process fueled her desire to learn as much as she could. Working in the Quality Department led to her first project. “(It) allowed me to research food science, and make something new with the R&D group,” said Georgia. “I wanted to learn more – and I needed a program that was compatible to my at-the-time schedule. K-State was perfect.”

A return to school meant figuring out how to balance work and studying. “When I started, I was already good at arranging schedule with family due to rotating shifts so frequently,” said Georgia. “When I added classes, it did become more of challenge – and I had to learn how not to become distracted, and ensure I was not sacrificing family, friends or education at the same time.”

It was no easy feat, but Georgia had a support system ready to help her out. “I was very thankful for my advisor, Dr. Deanna Retzlaff, who had patiently worked with me to ensure I would meet all requirements prior to my planned graduation date,” said Georgia. “If something didn’t work, she was always there to provide another option and support.”

Her efforts paid off. She was able to finish her degree in three years, while applying what she was learning to her job. “While in school, I continued working for the confectionery company and was promoted to Food Safety Document Control, developing the position and enhancing the food safety program at the company,” said Georgia. “I was also used as an instructor for sister companies globally to come and inspect according to FDA regulations, and new food safety requirements.”

Georgia’s hard work and perseverance has opened new doors for her. “Now with my degree, I have been able to launch into a new professional world, working with some of the top research professionals within my company, helping to launch new products, and gaining invaluable knowledge and growth,” said Georgia.

Professionally, Georgia says the sky’s the limit. “I was promoted to the Research & Department group of my company, which has really given me opportunities both in the states and with the R&D group to learn, innovate, and be a part of the optimization process,” said Georgia. “I really am looking forward to working towards and completing my graduate degree at K-State, while also developing myself further within the R&D group with my company.”

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.