What degree did you receive from UT and what year/s did you receive your degree/s? Why did you choose UT’s Food Science program?
I came to UT from UT Chattanooga as a junior in 1982. I received my B.S. in 1984 and my M.S. in 1986. I chose UT Food Technology and Science (the department name at the time) because I enjoyed science courses and liked that Food Science had a narrower focus than just Chemistry or Biology. As a child, I used to read my cereal boxes while I ate breakfast, so I guess it was inevitable that I would end up in Food Science!
What is your current position or what was your last position?
I am currently in the only position from which I have derived income since graduating in 1986. I stayed home with our 3 children for over 25 years before becoming a Lecturer at UTK in Food Science in 2012. I also serve as the department’s Undergraduate Program Coordinator and as an Academic Advisor for many of our students. I enjoy helping coach the College Bowl team too.
How did your experiences at UT help to shape your career path? My favorite thing about UT Food Science was the people—the other students, staff, and faculty members.
The faculty and staff genuinely cared about the students and wanted to help them succeed in their educational and career goals. I suppose that is why I now choose to teach and advise our current students, and I hope to provide them the same care and attention that was shown to me.
Even though my husband is already retired from UT, I plan to continue teaching for a few more years as long as I am having fun and the students are learning. At some point, I will retire and enjoy spending time with my current and future grandchildren and the rest of my family.
Favorite memories of your time at UT?
I enjoyed hanging out with other students and faculty in the department as we would get together at someone’s apartment for food and fun. Everyone in the department knew each other since it was a small department. I was elected as Chairman of the IFT Student Association and I enjoyed going to the IFT conferences in New Orleans, Anaheim (we also went to Disneyland!), and Atlanta with the other students and faculty, and initiating the first college bowl competition in Atlanta in 1985.
What advice would you give to current and future students?
1.) Take your education seriously, i.e. “Go to class! Work hard.”
2..) Learn to look for and grab the opportunities that are around you.
3.) Find some joy in every situation. Life is too short to be miserable!
4.) People are more important than things.
5.) Count your blessings