Alumni Profiles - Meet Amanda Prudente
Hometown: Buckeye, AZ
Year of Graduation: 2011
Major: Food Science
Minors: Food and Agribusiness Marketing and Management, Chemistry
Undergraduate Campus Involvement:
Food Science Club, Ag Ambassadors, Delaware Repertory Dance Company, Yoga Club
Current Position of Employment or Education:
Flavor Technician at David Michael and Company
Describe your best Ag experience:
My best Ag experience was being able to serve as one of the student interns for the UDairy Creamery. I was fortunate enough to be chosen as the Dairy/Food Science Manager of the UDairy Creamery during my senior year, and it was truly a great learning experience for me. It gave me a chance to merge my Food Science background with the business aspects of the Food and Agribusiness Marketing and Management minor.
Which Ag course was your favorite and why?
My favorite Ag course was the Food Science Capstone course. It is the last course that we take as seniors, and it really was a great way to end my undergraduate education. In this course, we got to design our own innovative food products. This was a great last class, because it gave us a chance to really use all the information we had learned over the previous four years to create a product. This course covered everything, from initial product design to recipe formulation, marketing, packaging, etc. The experience I gained from this class also helped me when I got to my job and had to create my own innovative food product. I knew how to go about the whole process and what all of my steps would be, because I had this previous experience.
Tell us about your current position or program of study and what led you to that field.
Currently, I am working as a flavor technician in the flavor creations department at David Michael and Co. My main job is to compound new flavors or revise existing flavors based on customer needs. What led me to this field is that I wanted to learn something new. I knew that the flavor industry was a very important aspect of the food industry, and I really wanted to get an appreciation for what it was all about.
How did your College of Ag experiences prepare you for your current job or post-graduate education?
Spending time in the lab was what prepared me for my job more than anything else. Since I work almost exclusively in my lab, it was really important that I was well versed in how lab equipment worked and the safety hazards present in an everyday lab. The extensive amount of lab training that I received from the Food Science program really helped me to go into my job fully confident in my skills. Also, I was able to learn a great deal about the food industry through my internship with the UDairy Creamery my senior year.
What advice do you have for students interested in your field?
My advice would be to do what you love. Food Science is a challenging major/field and what kept me motivated was knowing that this is what I wanted to do. If you don't love what you're doing, there is no way you are going to put in the effort that is needed to truly succeed.