E5: Heather McCain on Sensory Analysis, Lettuce & Leadership

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Heather McCain is pursuing her Masters in sensory analysis at North Carolina State University. She is a recent graduate of the Food Science Undergrad program at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. For someone so early in her career she has done a lot and that is why we wanted to feature her on The Dish. As President of the Cal Poly Food Science Club, Heather grew it from 30 to 70 members during her tenure. She talks about the leadership lessons she learned as an executive of her club, and the opportunities it opened up. It is interesting that some of Heather’s advice about being a student leader is the same as that given by Jocko Willink in his book “Extreme Ownership” about leadership lessons learned as a Navy Seal. While Heather has not been a Navy Seal (that I know of), she does know a thing or two about building a team. Heather leveraged the networking opportunities resulting from her club’s association with the Institute of Food Technologists and her involvement with product development competitions to land internships while at school and ultimately make the decision to go to Grad School.

This interview is a good one if you are deciding whether to go in to food science, apply to Grad school, run for office as a student executive or learn more about the field of sensory analysis in food.

What We Talk About

  • Sensory analysis and why is it needed
  • What it takes to succeed as a food scientist
  • Why decide to do a Masters after undergrad
  • The benefits of extra curricular activities while studying
  • Great ways to connect with a mentor and conduct career research
  • Benefits of joining an industry association
  • What is a Taste Chemist?

 Other Stuff