The Student Experience

We are a working lab that produces real results for real clients. Here, students have a unique opportunity to get  hands on training, develop and apply critical thinking and client interaction skills that will be invaluable to take into the work force. The  Sensory Service Center provides a supportive environment in which to develop and grow, but the full experience is only achieved when complemented with your self motivation, accountability and goal-directed behavior.

We invite undergraduate students to work with us part time. We offer flexible hours working on activities and projects that go above and beyond standard lab classes: sample and test preparations for actual tastings and client contract work, as well as production activities in the pilot plant that have real world impact.

During a two to three year commitment as a graduate student, you will:

Design and report on experiments that give clients actionable info. You will work on samples and analysis with a time-sensitive turnaround. This kind of conditioning will better equip you for working for a company post graduation.

Publish papers and complete a literature review. Our lab is on the cutting edge – as universities are moving towards being more results driven in their approach to research, we already work in a way that makes us relevant to the food industry and government agencies.

Work on significant projects independently and in partnership with lab members. Masters students work from a project that has been planned  with a defined approach to work through to resolution. PhD students are responsible for developing their projects from the initial idea through planning how to solve a problem or question (the approach), through to executing the plan. This is both a supportive and challenging learning environment and style.

Work in the dairy processing plant (milk pasteurization, cheese making, collecting whey and processing it into value added ingredients). Though our normal business hours are between 8-9 am and 5-6 pm, pilot plant activities can sometimes occur on the weekends or later in the evening, depending on scheduled sensory panels or certain kinds of product production cycles on a project which you may be managing.

Mix it up sometimes, helping us present at professional trade and organization meetings, and evaluating a variety of foods as part of training.

You will recognize that the lab is a uniquely integrated experience – volatile, non-volatile and sensory analysis and pilot plant services all in one – bringing everything together to make relevant decisions and conclusions for client and project work. This at once makes it more difficult than focusing on just one area of expertise, however we arm you with the holistic thinking and project management skills that will put you ahead of the game post graduation.