Welcome back to the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department at the University of Florida for the 2021-2022 academic year! We are so pleased to have you as a part of our community. New classes, fresh faces, incredible experiences—it’s all here in the FSHN Department. Read on to learn more about changes in the department over the summer as well as exciting events taking place this upcoming year!
New Faces in the Department
A warm welcome to two new members of the FSHN family: Dr. Katherine Thompson-Witrick and Alyssa Estrellado! We asked them to share a little bit about themselves:
Dr. Thompson-Witrick (Assistant Professor):
I started at UF in August 2020, coming from the Fermentation Science Institute (FSI) at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale. Before FSI, I worked at SweetWater Brewing Company in Atlanta. As one might expect from my background, my research focuses on fermentation, specifically fermented beverages like beer, wine, and more recently kombucha. Fermentation has been around for thousands of years and is one of the earliest preservation techniques utilized by man, which I find really fascinating. It is amazing that we still use this technique today.
I’m a flavor chemist by training, which means I use analytical techniques like chromatography to help me achieve my research goals. My research looks at the impact the fermentation environment has on the physical and chemical characteristics of the fermented product. In other words, how can I make my beer taste better? While working at SweetWater Brewing Company, I gained a unique perspective on the types of research that the craft brewing industry values.
My research generally falls into three distinct areas: 1) the use of Brettanomyces as the selected yeast strain for manufacturing beer, 2) the use of locally sourced Florida-grown ingredients and their impact on the physical and chemical characteristics of the beverage (beer and kombucha) as in “farm to glass,” and 3) sour beer. Sour beers are near and dear to my heart since my entire dissertation was on Belgian lambics (gueuze).
Alyssa (Communications Assistant):
I graduated from the UF with a degree in Telecommunications on the Digital Film and TV Production track. My parents attended UF in the ’90s and met through a student organization called the Filipino Student Association. I met my partner through FSA as well, so my family is definitely on a roll. During my undergraduate years, I was fortunate to serve as the Executive President of FSA and give back to the organization to which I owed my life. My Dad is a recently retired colonel in the Air Force, so while growing up, I moved around every two years. Now I call Haymarket, Virginia my hometown.
It has been a strange process settling into my first full-time job. This is all very new but exciting to me, and I am so grateful to be working here. I love meeting people around the department and diving into what I can do to improve the department’s overall communications. I am most looking forward to helping Herschel and Student Services with Food Week. As a major foodie, I cannot wait to be at every event because there is a lot of awesome food and samples this year.
Operation Renovation: Admin Suite
We took advantage of extra time over the summer and gave the admin suite a major overhaul! The next time you’re visiting our amazing administrative staff, check out the following:
• Fresh paint and new carpet
• New office cubicles with updated furniture
• New visitor waiting area
• Refreshment of the office to be more open and welcoming
Get Ready for Food Week!
We are excited to welcome you to the fourth annual Food Week! The FSHN Department and the FSHN Student Organization at the University of Florida invite you to join us for Food Week 2021, Oct. 11 – 15.
Food Week is an event to showcase the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department’s programs, innovative research, and associated professional opportunities. We will provide experiences to explore majors in Dietetics, Food Science, and Nutritional Sciences through free food and beverage samples with scientific explanations, fun social events, and panel discussions. We even have events for you to show off your culinary skills in our MasterChef and chili cookoff competitions.
Help us combat food insecurity and build sustainable food options by joining our food and fund-raising events in support of the Alan and Kathy Hitchcock Field and Fork Pantry and The Children’s Table of North Central Florida. Review the Food Week schedule and follow our events on Facebook and Twitter @UF_FSHN #FoodWeek2021 #FoodScience #Dietetics #NutritionalSciences #JOBS
New Website Pages Showcase the Department
Explore new pages on our website designed to feature our exceptional students, faculty, staff, and more, as well as the latest innovative research taking place under our roof.
Discover FSHN highlights the unique experiences of our students, faculty, staff, postdoctoral researchers, and alumni. Want a real look into the lives of our community members? Explore the features on this new page!
Research Journeys follows the experiences of graduate students in the FSHN Department by learning about their lives, inspirations, and research from matriculation to graduation.
FSHN YouTube Gallery gathers all the FSHN videos in one convenient place. Enjoy features on groundbreaking research projects, pilot plant tour, the FSHN Club, and even our popular Slice and Spice recipe videos!