Elementary and High School in Geneva, Nebraska. Went to Undergrad and Graduate school at the University of Nebraska. GO HUSKERS!
Biology (study of living organisms), Food Science and Technology, Food Chemistry, Microbiology (study of teeny tiny organisms, like bacteria, viruses, and fungi), Gastrointestinal Microbiology (the microbes that help digest your food), Fruit & Vegetable Technology, Dairy Products Technology, Microbiology of Fermented Foods, Biochemistry, Molecular Genetics (the study of an organism’s DNA), Food Microbiology (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ONkKy68HEIM)
I detassled corn in Junior High. Worked as a waitress at Pizza Hut in High School. I worked for Red Bull as a marketing representative in college. During Grad school, I worked at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, England for a few months!
Favourite thing to do in my job: My favorite thing to do as a microbiologist is use bacteria to turn one food into another; for example, bacteria turn milk into cheese, grapes into wine, and cabbage into sauerkraut.
I help keep General Mills food products free from harmful bacteria, so they are safe for you to eat!
I help our Food Scientists, who create new products, make safe decisions about which ingredients to use and how long to cook the products. I also help our production plants (where the products are made) stay free and clear of bacteria!
My Typical Day
I work on projects in the microbiology lab about 1/3 of my time, and the rest of the day is spent analyzing results, writing reports, and helping other General Mills microbiologists and food scientists problem solve.
What I'd do with the prize money
Donate it to a program that inspires young students to learn about science! Examples: https://www.theworks.org/, http://mn.madscience.org/, https://www.smm.org/visit, or http://www.hightechkids.org/about-us
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Jokester, curious, smiley :)
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
So many cool things, it’s hard to choose only one! If I have to, I would say the opportunity to travel a lot! A few of the cities, states, and countries I’ve been lucky enough to visit for science are California, Wisconsin, Colorado, Chicago, New Orleans, England, Ireland, and Denmark.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My mom, for teaching me how to cook and create recipes in the kitchen at a young age. My dad, for always letting me get dirty working on carpentry projects with him. In high school, my biology and chemistry teachers.
What was your favourite subject at school?
Biology, gym, band, and choir.
What did you want to be after you left school?
After Elementary School, I wanted to be a jockey :) I LOVE HORSES! After High School, I wanted to be a Food Scientist, because I liked science and cooking!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Every now and again for talking too much, but overall a good kid.
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
A jockey, but I think I weigh too much :)
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
mmmmmm…..fried okra and tomatoes, bacon, mint chocolate chip ice cream, homemade mac n’ cheese. The only thing I don’t like is water chestnuts, they are too crunchy. Yuck!
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Lived in England for 6 months, and traveled to Italy and Denmark.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Wish #1. To live on a tropical island (it’s cold in Minnesota). Wish #2. To be a mom, I love kids! Wish #3. I wish I could time travel.
Tell us a joke.
Q: What do you call cheese that is not yours? A: Nacho cheese! ;-)