Reconnecting with our former students is always exciting, but it is especially fantastic to watch them reach their goals! This spotlight is one of our fairly recent grads that tells us that many of his lessons didn’t come from the classroom but from other activities on campus. Austin Morgan was a UT Ambassador, ME4UT Team Member, SAA Member, and Ignite Team Leader. Participating in this groups taught him respect and 360 degree leadership principals that he has been able to apply in industry.
What year did you receive your degree/s from The University of Tennessee’s Food Science Department? Why did you choose UT’s Food Science program?
I received by B.S. in Food Science in May of 2017. I chose UT’s Food Science program because I was looking to study science, but I wanted a smaller program to do so. I began searching the website, and the simple description of food science was enough to draw my interest.
What is your current position and employer and how long have you been there?
I am a core product manager within the Food Innovation and Technology Team at Kentucky Fried Chicken headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky. I essentially manage the food safety and quality assurance aspects for oil and some non-oil-based sauces that enter the supply chain. I have been with KFC since January 2019.
How did your experiences at UT help to shape your career path?
My experiences at UT not only gave me a solid educational foundation, but also prepared me to be a well-balanced professional. I spent time getting involved around campus which allowed me to be comfortable with diverse groups of people. This level of comfort has taught me skills I need to converse with people from various backgrounds as I attend supplier summits and visits.
What are your future goals?
I hope to someday to manage a food safety and quality assurance department! Due to regulation and consumer trends, our field is always shifting. There is always a new challenge to overcome. The journey to overcome that challenge can be both invigorating and frustrating. However, once you find a solution you can take pride in the journey.
What advice would you give to current and future students?
My advice is to get out of your comfort zone and take risks. I followed this motto as an undergrad being very involved across campus. After graduating, I worked for a poultry manufacturer which was far outside of my comfort zone. However, I learned so many valuable skills, both technically and professionally, I would not have learned without the environments I was placed in.