Food Science Department Is Hungry-For Students
Even with it’s state-of-the-art Food Science building, which houses Berkey Creamery, Penn State’s Food Science Department is having trouble filling their classrooms. Penn State’s program isn’t alone: a marked 32% decrease in enrollment in Food Science programs across North America means the industry is left starving for more graduates to solve some of the world’s biggest problems. The head of the Food Science Department, John Floros, explains that the downturn in enrollment is likely due to a misunderstanding of what Food Science is really all about. Instead of Food Scientists actually processing food (the misconception), Food Scientists are chemists, engineers and microbiologists among other things.
Floros also stresses that most people don’t even have a real understanding of how the food system works. From the fields to your dinner plate, many people and processes are involved.
People have a tendency to take things for granted. Unfortunately, the state of understanding of our food system is very low. When you live in a society where there are no major issues associated with the food supply, people tend to assume that there are no jobs in the food industry for them.
Penn State’s program has taken drastic steps to increase enrollment in the program. From building a new building to recruiting the nation’s brightest food science experts, Food Science at Penn State has managed to become the largest program on the East Coast and the second largest in the country. Floros explains the impact of Penn State’s effort:
New facilities at Penn State certainly help to attract recruits. It does not hurt that the Food Science Building with its Berkey Creamery is the top state-of-the-art facility in the nation.
Check out the Food Science Department’s website here. There is some pretty cool info on there, with articles about Swine Flu’s impact on the food supply as well as announcements about programs to teach people how to handle food while spending time outdoors. The department even offers workshops about how to make ice cream and other Food Science topics.