Internship: Quality Assurance
College or University: Michigan State University
Year in School: Graduated August 12th
Major/Degree Program: Food Science – Technology Concentration
What experiences did you gain as an intern at MMPA?
I learned a great deal during my time interning at MMPA. The bulk of it can be summed up as technical skills related to the dairy industry, but the most important things I learned came in the form of personal skills. I learned a lot about how to treat others and gain respect. Putting effort into the people around you goes a long way in terms of cultivating the company culture and promoting personal relationships.
What do you like most about working in the dairy industry?
Milk has a very rich history. During the industrial revolution, raw milk production moved from farms that cared about their livestock to high-demand industries that only cared about production. This shift away from animal welfare resulted in illness in the cattle, which resulted in contaminated milk. Furthermore, in the 1800’s there were no standard practices that would control adulteration, things like dilution, replacing cream with calf brains, even adding borax were commonplace. Milk quickly became known as the “white death” which took the lives of many vulnerable people. After necessary changes were enforced, the milk industry recovered from its bad reputation. This change didn’t happen overnight or without penalty. As someone who is highly motivated by food safety and quality, I enjoy working in an industry that is highly scrutinized. We need to constantly prove ourselves by upholding best practices. On the farm side, there is proof that animal welfare is a priority, and on the processing side, we are proving that we have nothing to hide and that we are producing the best quality product. Food safety and quality are never-ending in the dairy industry.
How does this MMPA internship experience fit into your future career goals?
I believe that this internship experience has set me up for success within my career. I am a planner, I am constantly thinking ahead and plotting my next move. My career goals for myself begin with spending 5-10 years in a quality assurance leadership position for a dairy processing facility. I then want to use that experience to boost my career as an MDARD dairy division inspector, which I want to spend the bulk of my career (about 20 years). Then finish out my career as a travelling SQF auditor. Prior to starting this internship, I did not have a defined plan for my career, but this position gave me insight into the daily events of a processing facility and audits that helped me realize
This article was originally published in the September/October 2022 issue of the Milk Messenger. Subscribe »