Name: Jessica Danberg
Hometown: Bloomington, MN
Major and Graduation Date: Culinary Food Science, Spring 2017
Favorite ISU Class: My favorite class at ISU was Tearoom in my junior year. Although I was never interested in working at a restaurant, I really enjoyed having the opportunity to work each station in a kitchen. I grew up loving to cook and bake but wasn’t sure if it was just a hobby. Tearoom gave everyone the chance to try each position in a restaurant and really learn what it takes to keep things running each day. It was hard work that paid off in the form of a family meal we all cooked together.
Job Title and Company: Product Designer at Buddy’s Kitchen Inc.
Major Job Responsibilities: Buddy’s Kitchen is a custom frozen foods manufacturer. As a product designer for our Emerging Channels Division, it is my responsibility to design products for coffee shops such as Peet’s and Caribou. I take customer product requests from the initial blue-sky idea phase through sourcing of ingredients, packaging, heat testing, plant trials and nutrition labeling all the way to commercialization and finally launch day.
What you like most about your job? There are a lot of reasons I love my job. First, I often go out with customers to incredible local restaurants, travel the country for trade shows and take team field trips for “research” (we went to the Minnesota state fair this year!). Second, I enjoy the challenging aspect of designing a product to the customer’s specifications. The thing I love most about my job is being surrounded by people who are passionate about food, just like I am.
What advice would you give to current students pursuing a career in Agriculture and Life Sciences? My biggest piece of advice for students is to take on some sort of leadership role in your college career. My experience in the industry has been that things tend to be project-based and require a lot of management and attention to detail. Leadership experience will help with delegating responsibilities, communication skills, and building confidence for dealing with customers and superiors in the workplace.