By Maggie Stanton
Growing 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!”