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Meghan M.

Why did you choose to pursue a CALS MPS degree?

I wanted a program that would help me develop the skills I needed to transition into the food industry. The MPS program was the perfect way to gain foundational knowledge of Food Science without taking too much time away from my career.

    What were you doing prior to the MPS degree program?

    Before the MPS degree program, and after my chemistry undergraduate degree, I was working in sales and marketing with consumer packaged goods companies in Toronto.

    What are your short-term and long-term career goals?

    My short-term career goals are to work in the food industry at a startup and gain professional experience developing new food products. Long-term I would love to be in a position to consult with and mentor new food startups and help them bring their products to market.

    What were the biggest obstacles you had to overcome in order to participate in the program? 

    My greatest challenge when applying to the MPS program was balancing full time work and studying at night for the GRE.

    What are your post-MPS plans?

    After my MPS degree, I will be working for a food startup that makes pasta out of chickpeas in NYC! I’ll be joining their rotational program where I will be helping out with operations and product development.

    What are the strengths of the CALS MPS degree program?

    The greatest strengths of the MPS program are the resources and professional support. From the amazing supportive staff, to the career guidance, and interview practice - I left feeling like I got my money’s worth and had the tools I needed to be successful.

    What words would you use to describe the CALS MPS degree program?

    Flexible and Worthwhile

    Why is the flexibility of the program important to you?

    Since the program is only a year, there is no time to waste on courses that don’t suit your needs. Having the flexibility to choose only what I wanted was incredibly important to helping me tailor my experience to meet my career goals.

    What were some of the most rewarding moments while in your program?

    The most rewarding moments of the program was finding success throughout the interview process and landing my dream job right after graduating!

    What courses stand out as most helpful for your specific career goals? 

    Product development, sensory evaluation, and food chemistry.

    How has your MPS experience changed you, both personally and professionally?

    Personally, the MPS program further fueled my passion for food and validated that I was finally pursuing the right career to suit my interests. Professionally, the MPS program provided networking opportunities that I wouldn't have otherwise been exposed to.

    Describe your education / career path and how that led you to pursue a Cornell CALS MPS.

    I have an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Although I enjoyed my program and felt I left with a solid science education, I wanted to work on other skills and gain practical experience in a professional environment. After graduating, I moved to Toronto and spent two years working in sales and marketing with consumer packaged goods companies. This experience was my first exposure to careers in the food industry and over time I realized that working on food products was a perfect blend of my science background, work experience, and personal interests. The Cornell MPS program stood out to me as a unique opportunity to gain fundamental Food Science knowledge and transition into the food industry in a short period of time.

    What are you passionate about?

    The innovation and ingenuity involved in creating new food products. A more recent passion, developed during my year at Cornell, is being an advocate for the improvement of science communication.

    How would you describe the Food Science facilities available to graduate students pursuing the food science MPS?

    Stocking Hall is a new building with small, intimate classrooms and collaboration spaces. From the fully-stocked PD kitchen to the research labs, there is no shortage of equipment or resources.

    How has learning from faculty experts changed your perspective of the field of Food Science?

    Food science is about more than just science and hard facts. When it comes to food there are a lot of ethical and emotional factors to consider when developing new products.

    What’s your favorite thing about living in Ithaca?

    My favorite thing about living in Ithaca is being so close to the water and hiking trails. The farmer’s market on Saturdays will also hold a special place in my heart!

    What advice would you give to your younger self embarking on the journey of graduate school?

    Only do the things you want to do. Unlike undergrad, there is no need to take a course because you feel like you have to – customize your experience so that it meets your professional needs.

    Learn more about other MPS student experiences