Day in the Life: Clarissa Aurelia, Undergraduate Student in Food Science

Clarissa's picture taken in front of a pondWelcome to our new series Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN): Day in the Life! This series is part of our innovative UF/FSHN Careers Advancement Project (CAP), which captures what it’s really like to earn degrees in food science, nutritional sciences, and dietetics. This project will help you develop your fulfilling career, complete with steps on how to achieve your career goals. Finally, discover your career passion by learning about the daily lives of professionals in food science and human nutrition. Today’s topic: being a food science undergraduate.

Kicking off our UF/FSHN CAP, we welcome Clarissa Aurelia to the FSHN blog! Clarissa is an undergraduate senior pursuing a degree in food science. She kindly took time out of her busy schedule to share what a day in her life is like. In addition, she discusses her career plans and the staple meals she prepares every day. Thanks, Clarissa!


A large piece of gray lab processing equipment.
Students using a drum dryer in the pilot plant to make tortilla chips.
Skylar Moreno standing in front of a whiteboard giving a presentation.
Skylar Moreno gives a presentation in the food processing lab while lab members carbonate a beverage.
Meet Our UF/ FSHN CAP Guest

Name: Clarissa Aurelia

Year: Senior (graduating May 2022)

Major: Food Science

Minor: Nutritional Sciences

Hometown: Jakarta, Indonesia

Why I chose my major: A combination of job security and creativity. I decided to pursue a food science degree at UF to see my ideas come to life on grocery store shelves and more. I also feel that the food science field has huge job security, as the food industry can arguably have infinite growth potential for the simple reason that people need to eat. Our society depends on growing, processing, and eating food.

Hobbies: Traveling, cycling, cooking, scuba diving, budgeting/organizing finances, and photography.

Plans after graduation: After I finish my undergraduate degree in food science, I plan to go to graduate school to study food science and learn how to design and conduct sensory research. Ultimately, I aim to apply my skills in the sensory area of product development. For example, this area includes balancing flavor systems in alternative sweetener technology or exploring alternative ingredients used in plant-based foods.

My long-term goal is to contribute to innovation in the food industry by working as a food product developer and/or studying sensory consumer insights. Eventually, I would like to start my own business with innovative foods. Some of my dream jobs include working for Magic Spoon, Impossible Foods, Oatly, and Silk.

Day in the Life: Clarissa Aurelia, Undergraduate Student, Food Science
6:30 Wake up
I definitely don’t consider myself a morning person, although I do prefer mornings over evenings. Still, I’ve had to train myself to wake up early since starting my summer 2021 internship at Imbibe, Inc., a beverage development company, and now for my 8:30 am classes.
6:45 Read
I love reading in the mornings! I’m currently reading two books: The $100 Startup and Klara and the Sun. One is a nonfiction/business book and the other is a science fiction book. So far, I highly recommend both!
7:00 Tidy and start getting ready
I make my bed, tidy up my bedroom, and have a quick shower.
7:30 Breakfast
My go-to breakfast meals are sausage omelets or brioche topped with bacon, mushrooms, and eggs Benedict.
8:00 Check emails, create reminders/to-do list for the day, check LinkedIn for new postings
My job as Food Quality & Safety Manager at BLAZE A+T involves a lot of emails – whether it is emailing suppliers, distributors, or each restaurant – so I always check my emails in the morning and create reminders of what I need to do throughout the day. I also always check LinkedIn for any updates from peers and I monitor new postings for food science internships that I can apply to for the summer.
8:15 Go to class
I take the bus to the UF campus.
8:30 Product development class
Currently, we’re working on our product development projects and learning how to source ingredients and flavors we may need to create our product.
9:30 Food processing class
This class is one of the most challenging classes I’ve taken. But the good thing about challenging things is that they are also very rewarding. We’re currently learning about the fermentation process and all the related calculations and applications.
10:30 Work at taste panel
I’m usually scheduled to work at the taste panel/sensory lab at this time. Depending on the week, we may not have an ongoing panel, so I don’t need to come in. On a regular panel day, I would come in and get briefed on the product being tested. Then, I start by prepping the products and serving the test to the panelists. On weeks we don’t have a panel, I go home early.
12:30 Lunch break
If I’m on campus, my go-to lunch is either a quick Chick-fil-a sandwich or something from Au Bon Pain. However, if I have no obligation to be on campus, I go home and cook myself something to save money. My go-to at-home lunch is a roasted zucchini flatbread with ricotta and balsamic glaze!
2:00 Blaze A+T work
I start working again at my other job once I can get in front of my desktop. We oversee seven restaurant brands, each with over 50 locations across the country. Depending on the day, I might have scheduled calls to discuss product issues a restaurant is facing. A solution might be to talk with the supplier so that the restaurant can get credit back. I also continue to reply to emails and monitor our product complaint portal to keep track of all issues.
4:00 Work on lab report
Depending on the week, we usually have a lab report or lab tutorial due on Fridays. So, this is where I allot my time to do homework and assignments.
5:00 FSHN General Body Meeting (GBM)
The FSHN Club has GBMs every other week. So, on weeks in which we have one, I drive back to campus for the meeting. This week we’re having a very exciting guest! One of our own professors, Dr. Charles Sims, is coming in to talk about the miracle berry fruit. Eating this fruit changes your palate; for example, acidic foods become extra sweet after eating the miracle berry. Lemons taste like candy!
6:30 Make dinner, eat, and clean up
One of my go-to dinners is a mahi-mahi fish fillet with roasted, wedged potatoes and stuffed mushrooms.
7:45 Scholarship application

If there’s one thing I would change about the beginning of my college career, it would be to apply for more scholarships. Now, I try to apply to anything and everything I can find. You never know!

8:30 Relax, watch series
I like to catch up on any tv series I’m watching before bed. I’m currently watching The Dropout and Upload.
9:30 Get ready for bed, read
I like to end my day by reading after brushing my teeth and washing my face. It also helps put me to sleep.
10:30 Bedtime
Clarissa and her friend post with their scholarship checks at the IFT Florida Expo.
Clarissa and her friend Victoria Vyazmensky, a fellow undergraduate senior food science major, receiving scholarships at the IFT Florida Expo. Header: Clarissa cycling along a bike path.
Interested in learning more about careers in Food Science and Human Nutrition? Check out our UF/FSHN CAP series (links forthcoming):

(1) What Can I Do with My Degree?

(2) How to Become a …

(3) Day in the Life

Learn more about FSHN’s renowned programs below!
Poke bowl with salmon, tuna, edamame, corn, seaweed salad, and avocado.
Poke bowl with salmon, tuna, edamame, corn, seaweed salad, and avocado.
Grouper fish, mashed potatoes, and broccoli.
Grouper fish, mashed potatoes, and broccoli.

Undergraduate Programs:
Food Science
Nutritional Sciences

Graduate Programs:
M.S. Dietetic Internship Program
M.S. Food Science and Human Nutrition
Ph.D. Food Science
Ph.D. Nutritional Sciences


Jessie Erwin, Nutrition Communications Consultant for the UF/IFAS FSHN department.
Posted: April 6, 2022

Category: Food Science & Human Nutrition
Tags: Clarissa Aurelia, Day In The Life, Dr. Charles Sims, Food Science, Miracle Berry, UF/FSHN CAP, UF/FSHN CAP Day In The Life, UF/FSHN Careers Advancement Project, Undergraduate Food Science Major

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