Kansas State University


Food Science Institute

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”