Perfecting the Recipe for Success
Elijah Knauer ’23 knew from a young age that food was a personal passion. At first, he channeled his writing skills into a food blog, but it became clear that blogging was not something he would enjoy doing as a career. Soon after, Knauer discovered food science, a perfect combination of his love of food and knack for chemistry.
When it came time to apply to colleges, Knauer was introduced to LVC by his mother. She pointed out the closeness of Hershey and the possibility to create connections with the Hershey Company. Excited by the thought, Knauer scheduled a tour and quickly fell in love with the College’s Chemistry Program.
“The professors I met during my campus tour were all extremely helpful and nice, and the science programs themselves are likely some of the best programs at LVC,” reflected Knauer. “The College also offers opportunities here that I couldn’t get anywhere else, such as living in the STEM house.”
During the summer before his first year of college, Knauer, an ACS chemistry major, participated in Research First, a program that provides opportunities for incoming first-year students to work with College student-faculty research teams. Knauer spent the summer alongside Dr. Walter Patton, chair of chemistry and physics and associate professor of chemistry, researching the effects of dyes on varying proteins.
This past summer, Knauer continued his food research at North Carolina State University (NCSU) as part of the Food Science Summer Scholars. The program provides college students an opportunity to learn more about food science through research and hands-on learning.
“I was part of the education branch, so most of my research was literature-based,” said Knauer. “I worked on improving a food safety course about Ice Cream Manufacturing Safety designed for workers in ice cream facilities. I helped design a new course to educate non-science majors on conventional, organic, and GMO foods, and developed a 3D tour of NCSU’s Food Innovation Lab.”
As Knauer approaches his senior year, he wants to complete another summer research program related to organic/biological molecules. After graduation, Knauer plans to pursue a master’s degree in food science and a position in research and development for a company. He would like to improve existing food products and create new ones.
“My ideal occupation would be to work for a company that produces sweets and confections,” said Knauer. “I am the kind of person who never gets tired of sweets! There’s always development going into dessert products due to the publics’ ever-growing and changing sweet tooth.”
— Parker Gallagher, Marketing & Communications Student Assistant