Sara Kelley, Penn State University ’13

Sara Kelley

Location: Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
College/University attended: Penn State University, State College, Pa. (2013)
Major: Food science
Career: Raw materials technologist at Mars

Why did you choose Penn State University?

I chose Penn State because of the opportunity to learn in high-tech labs and connect with agriculture on campus. I liked Penn State’s tradition in agriculture and the broad look at food science to help you decide which direction you want to go.

How are you using what you learned in college today?

In my research role, I work on products like M&Ms, Twix and Snickers. I use critical thinking and leadership skills I learned in school on collaborative teams. I work to make improvements on chocolate, from being healthier to less expensive. I have to know the ingredients and how they react to each other, which I learned in school.

Advice for students thinking about college:

Don’t be afraid to try something new and step out of your comfort zone. Many food science majors don’t have an agricultural background, so developing a knowledge and respect for production agriculture can help a food science major better understand ingredients. At Penn State, you can work on campus farms and interact with animals and agriculture.

What were some of your best college experiences?

Interning at a private label dairy and for Kraft Foods working on Oreos and Nutter Butters. During my internships, I learned what sector I was most interested in. I would also recommend getting involved in food science-related clubs. In the food science club at PSU, companies give a presentation and do interviews on campus. This was a great opportunity to network, find internships and jobs.
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