Thursday, May 12, 2011
ELLSWORTH NATIVE GETS TASTE FOR FOOD SCIENCE FROM CHANCE ENCOUNTER WITH PROFESSOR
MANHATTAN -- Kathryn Goddard has earned her place in Kansas State University's class of 2011. She's graduating with a degree in food science from the College of Agriculture, with a minor in business, and she's grateful for learning experiences in and out of the classroom -- and a trip to a local tire store.
That's right, a tire store. A tornado is involved, too, so let's start at the beginning.
Goddard grew up in Ellsworth. It's a town without a shopping mall or big box stores, yet high school employment opportunities at Old School Seals, a local custom business supplier of waxed seals used with stationery and crafts, sparked creative ideas, offered a glimpse of business strategies and the benefits of staying power on the job, which she held for four years.
She'd also edited her high school yearbook. She looked forward to a career in journalism and chose it as her major at K-State.
Choosing K-State was easy because of the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications and because both of her parents, Johnnie and Karen, attended K-State.
What seemed a well thought out plan for the future changed, however, when a tornado struck Manhattan in June 2008.
Goddard's boyfriend, Joshua Deschenes, whom she met at K-State while he was working on his master's degree in communication studies, volunteered to help with the community clean-up following the tornado, but couldn't have known that doing so would change Goddard's life.
The following weekend, with both dressed up and on their way to a family celebration, the couple noted a thumping noise in their tires as they started to drive out of town.
In discussing whether they should drive or not, the two decided to have the tires checked at a local tire store.
The problem was traced to debris the tires picked up during the cleanup, and technicians suggested the couple take seats in the waiting room while the tires were being cleaned.
In striking up a conversation with a gentleman seated in the waiting room, Goddard learned that she was talking to the amiable Fadi Aramouni, a professor of food science in K-State's department of animal sciences and industry in the College of Agriculture.
Aramouni is well known for his inquisitive -- and creative -- approach to food science and new product development, as well as his enthusiasm for teaching.
He is, as they say, "passionate about his subject matter."
When Aramouni learned Goddard was a journalism major, he quipped, "Oh, you need to learn more about food science," and invited her to tour the department, which she did.
While there, Goddard mentioned that she was looking for a job for the following school year, and Aramouni, who had an opening, hired her on the spot.
By the end of the school year, she had changed her major to food science with a minor in business.
Aramouni's teaching style includes applying experiences in the classroom out of the classroom, said Goddard, who explained that he challenged she and classmates Elyse Buckley, Chanute, and Erin Harbacek, Abilene, to develop a Super Bowl snack for a national contest sponsored by the California Almond Board.
The trio labored, and ultimately came up with an almond-battered chicken strip recipe that earned them honorable mention in a national contest.
The next year, Goddard teamed with Buckley to develop a healthy snack for children incorporating fruit and vegetable leathers to earn a trip to California to present their idea in the Disney-sponsored contest -- and take home first place.
The two have had some unique entries -- champagne gelato is an example -- in other new product development competitions and earned trips to compete and travel to new food product conferences in the United States.
In June 2010 Goddard began a paid internship with cereal giant Kellogg Company in Battle Creek, Mich. She interviewed for the pre-professional position at K-State and said the job opportunity introduced her to the corporate process and new food product development for the ready-to-eat cereal division.
The Kellogg opportunity introduced Goddard to the corporate world, and food product development for the global market place. It was a full-time, paid position, said Goddard, who also carried a 12-hour academic load so she could stay on schedule to graduate.
It was a great opportunity, she said, because interns participated on professional teams in various stages of the process.
Goddard said she enjoyed getting up and going to work each day. She is now in the final stages in interviewing for research, development and marketing positions targeting healthy foods for consumers.