Undergraduate Student Feature: Jennifer Jordan, Food Science
We’re excited to welcome Jennifer Jordan to the Discover FSHN Series! Jennifer Jordan is an undergraduate food science major from Tampa, FL in her last semester at UF. Read on to learn about how she chose Food Science as her major, her unique virtual internship with PepsiCo, her fascination with history, and how crepes inspired her career path.
Would you share how you chose the Food Science program at UF?
I entered UF as an engineering student in my freshman year. Quickly, I realized that my professional goal was to work in the food industry. I wanted to create new and unique formulations or types of food and bring joy to people through the foods they eat. Food and meals create bonds between members of society. I want my creations and impact in the food industry to facilitate these bonds between people.
The unconventional virtual internship was an enlightening experience that helped me strengthen valuable skills including time management and knowledge transfer.
I looked into the major after talking with some of my friends who were students in CALS. They told me how wonderful the department is. After their praises, I decided to schedule a meeting with one of the advisors to discuss Food Science as a possible major. I changed my major to Food Science the same day, and I am so grateful that I did. Ultimately, I joined the Food Science program at UF because this degree provides me the foundational knowledge to work in Research and Development.
I hear you did a virtual internship with PepsiCo this past summer! What was that like? What kind of work were you doing, and how was the virtual aspect of the internship?
My internship with PepsiCo was a fantastic experience! The PepsiCo team did an amazing job and created an immersive and well-organized virtual experience for the interns. I worked as an intern in Food’s Research and Development. I had two major projects during my time with PepsiCo: a solo functional project within my program and a cross-functional project with interns in other disciplines. Besides the time I spent on my projects, the R&D team scheduled meetings for the intern class to discuss notable projects, trainings, and bonding activities. The PepsiCo HR and R&D team also scheduled meet-and-greets with executives and other employees to discuss their experiences and role with the company. The unconventional virtual internship was an enlightening experience that helped me strengthen valuable skills including time management and knowledge transfer.
Although we are almost seven months into online learning, it can still be a challenge to engage in virtual classes. Would you share your top tip(s) for making the most of your online learning experience?
What has helped me the most in staying engaged with online learning is to have a designated area for my virtual classes, like a clean and organized desk. I also try to keep my camera on so I can remain engaged with the class content. Another tip to remain present in my classes is to take notes and always have a snack or drink on hand! Personally, I love to drink coffee during my classes.
What do you want to do after graduation?
After graduation, I plan to continue my education in a research master’s program in Food Science. I would like to continue learning in the field, and I cannot wait to conduct my own research. I want to take ownership over a project, and I hope to continue learning more about Food Science. After my graduate degree, I hope to join the food industry in Research and Development. Ideally, I hope to one day create innovative and nutritious food products!
Tell me more about your experiences at UF.
As a Food Science major, I was able to attend the Private Labeling Manufacturing Association (PLMA) conference in Chicago. For the event, I learned about various insights of the private label industry through workshops, and I shadowed two individuals from the private label industry. Additionally, I was a Co-Op for six months at Campbell’s Soup Company in soup product development. As a Co-Op, I reformulated a soup formula that is now being sold! Both of these experiences were invaluable and taught me so much about the food industry.
Also, I am a sorority sister of Delta Nu Zeta, a service sorority. I have volunteered across Gainesville with my sorority, and I have made so many lifelong friends.
What do you like to do in your free time?
During my spare time, I enjoy yoga, listening to podcasts, and hanging out with friends. I love a variety of podcasts, but my favorite podcasts are ones with comedians or about history. As a bit of a history buff, I learn history in my spare time. I like learning about past civilizations and how people lived. I also love exploring the Gainesville area and visiting new restaurants and coffee shops. Before COVID, I enjoyed traveling across the States and visiting my friends, and I also enjoyed visiting different countries. The top places I want to visit next are New Zealand and Thailand.
If you were a food, what food would you be and why?
Crepes! This is a sentimental choice for me. When I was younger, my family would spend Sundays making crepes from scratch for breakfast. I first began experimenting with food by adding different flavors to the crepes to make unique combinations. I also like how crepes can be so versatile and unique. They can be made sweet or savory, and they are always so delicious!
Anything else you’d like to add?
The FSHN department has amazing opportunities and people! I am so grateful for my time here and the people I have met during my undergraduate experience. I hope everyone stays safe and well!
Note: Images in this post were taken prior to national guidelines of face coverings and social distancing.