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Food Science grads find success after Carleton

Carleton’s Food Science and Nutrition Program can take graduates in many career directions within the food industry, if the inaugural class of 2012 is any indication.

The four-year undergraduate program starts with foundational courses in chemistry and biology, followed by core courses in food sciences.  Food science courses deal with current issues and focus heavily on food safety, risk assessment, and the regulation of the food industry.  To ensure graduates are well-rounded scientists, courses in communications, economics, and marketing are also included.

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Most of the class’s graduates now work as quality assurance professionals in the food industry, or are involved in food regulation. One has leveraged her interest in the construction of processing facilities into a career in project management. Another shares her passion for math and science as an elementary school teacher.

No matter where their studies have led them, they agree that the Food Science and Nutrition Program gave them vital knowledge and experience.

“Analytical and laboratory skills developed in Food Chemistry and Food Microbiology labs are used every day in the testing laboratory,” says Kristine Tuckey, a quality assurance technician with Costco Wholesale Canada.

Many grads note that the program involves much more than classroom learning. “I am a very hands-on person, and the labs allowed me to practise the methods that we talked about in class,” says Leanne Willson, a quality control technician with Parmalat Canada.

Given Carleton’s location in Canada’s capital, students benefit from presentations by guest speakers from government departments. They also get a look at the city’s private sector work environment—sometimes through co-op programs and sometimes courtesy of program graduates.  

“One of my favourite activities is giving tours of our manufacturing facility to current students,” says Anna On, a quality supervisor at Healthcare Food Services, which makes food for health care facilities. “When I was a student, it was hard to imagine what a food manufacturing environment even looked like, so I am pleased that I can now give students the opportunity to learn through experience.“            

This sort of ongoing relationship with Carleton is not unusual among graduates. Since classes are small—each year, roughly 25 people enter the program—students develop close and lasting relationships with each other and their professors.

Graduate Megan Lee, now a policy and programs specialist with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, mentions instructor Véronic Bézaire. “Throughout my time at Carleton, Véronic was my mentor and always made time to provide me with guidance and advice. To this day, I consider her my mentor and friend.”

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