Kansas State University


Food Science Institute

Student Spotlight: Karina Desiree

By Morgan Wolfe


Growing up in an “international family” made it easy for Karina Desiree to travel to the United States to pursue her college education. Karina grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia her whole life and attended an IB international school that required students to learn English. She always knew she would attend a university in the United States, and although miles away from home, the idea never instilled the slightest bit of fear.

“My uncle attended Ohio State University for his college education, so I already

had someone to talk about international studies with,” Karina said. “My mom also married a retired marine from the United States nine years ago. We have taken frequent vacations to the U.S. to see all the American tourist attractions.”

Before coming to K-State, Karina first completed her undergraduate degree at Purdue University in Indiana. “I was always interested in biology,” Karina explained, “and I wanted to be a doctor. However, in Indonesia they require doctors to complete medical school there, and I wanted to study abroad. So I looked for a more applicable science major. I wanted something less theoretical and more hands-on, and then I found food science. Purdue had a great food science program, and I also knew it was a popular university for Indonesians.”

Karina came straight to K-State after graduating from Purdue last May. She is currently a Food Science graduate student with an emphasis in Food Microbiology under Dr. Jessie Vipham and has been helping out in Dr. Phebus’ labs.

“I chose to come to K-State because of Dr. Vipham and her research,” Karina said. “I knew I liked microbiology, but I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do with it. When I looked at her research and how it involves developing countries and improving their agriculture, I grew very interested. Cambodia is right there by Indonesia, and I feel like that could be very useful in the future if I decide to go back to Indonesia and work there. I believe I could truly make an impact if I dive into that field and make improvements in my own country.”

Karina has found her new home at K-State to be very comfortable. Although only being here for a month, she has adapted to her surroundings very well.

“I’m used to the college town. Manhattan is a lot smaller than Purdue, but the atmosphere is very similar. It’s very quiet and relaxing here, very suitable for studying. I like it here because I’m easily distracted,” Karina laughed.

When she’s not busy helping out in food science classes, Karina spends her time singing in her church choir and gardening. She even has an impressive succulent collection and names her succulents after microbes! Now THAT is a dedicated student! Welcome to K-State Karina!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *