CAHNRS Talk Tuesday: Lauren Rooney

Each week, we showcase one of our CAHNRS Ambassadors, a student leadership organization that encourages students to pursue higher education and serves as a liaison between the college and the greater community. This week, we’re featuring Lauren Rooney, a junior from Gig Harbor, Wash.Graphic of student's interests with a formal portrait photo.

What are you studying?

I’m majoring in Food Science.

Favorite Show/Movie:

Stranger Things

Favorite Cougar Tradition:

Cougar spirit is contagious! One of my favorite Cougar traditions are the home football games at Martin Stadium. While every game is a blast, one of my favorite moments was rushing the field after winning in overtime against USC. The camaraderie that runs strong on the WSU campus spans far beyond Eastern Washington. It seems wherever I go, I hear a “Go Cougs!” Every activity I have participated in, from standup comedy to fencing, is dripping with Cougar spirit. It’s not just a feeling, it’s a way of life and I absolutely love it!

Favorite CAHNRS Commodity:

My favorite CAHNRS commodity is Ferdinand’s ice cream of course! During my freshman and sophomore years, I had the opportunity to work in the WSU Food Safety lab. While working, we tested the milk used for all of Ferdinand’s ice cream and cheese products for coliforms and listeria. I have even been out to the student run dairy where all the milk is produced. As a food science student, we have toured the creamery many times in my classes and have learned all the steps to produce the ice cream here at WSU. We have learned about the proper pasteurization, homogenization, storage, and (the most important aspect in my opinion) taste. It has been an incredible experience being involved with the creation of my favorite treat from start to finish. I love all the flavors at Ferdinand’s, but Cookies and Cream is my go to!

Why be a CAHNRS Coug?

Being a CAHNRS Coug truly means being part of a family. The support and encouragement I have received from my peers and faculty members has been incredible. CAHNRS is such a diverse community and I have enjoyed meeting people with vastly different majors and mind sets. The faculty I have worked with in CAHNRS have been incredible. Not only are they experts in the field and working on cutting edge research, they are constantly supportive and ready to help me in any way they can. I feel so fortunate to be a part of the WSU community and a part of the CAHNRS family. I have made lifelong friends and feel truly at home at WSU.

Best Student Experience:

While participating in the Ignite Undergraduate Research Program, I had the incredible opportunity to work with faculty and graduate students within the School of Food Science. It was an amazing opportunity to network within the department and learn relevant skills applicable to real world applications. I worked under Dr. Zhu in food safety and was able to be a part of her research on listeria contamination on apples. After my program ended, they hired me to continue working in the lab. I then tested milk samples for listeria and other contamination that is used to produce Ferdinand’s Ice Cream. It has been an amazing experience to be involved with research and I loved my job! I have also interned at Lucks Food Decorating Company for the past two summers. Working at Lucks was a great experience where I learned what it is really like to work in the confectionary industry. Through CAHNRS, I have received countless opportunities to work with wonderful people and get my feet wet in the industry that I love!

CAHNRS Taught Me:

I am currently pursuing my Bachelor’s in Food Science, Certificate in Molecular Biosciences, and Minor in Business. CAHNRS has prepared me to move forward confidently with the skills and knowledge I have gained and learned both inside and outside the classroom. My classes have been very specific, and I have not only learned about food microbiology, processing, safety, chemistry and sensory, I have done it. I have gotten my hands dirty and learned through experience. CAHNRS has helped me network and meet with industry partners at various events which has led to a more refined focus in my life. Being part of the CAHNRS Ambassador Team has helped me step out of my comfort zone and become involved on campus. Through CAHNRS, I have met so many incredible inspiring people and lifelong friends. Through the education, experience, influences and amazing people, CAHNRS has helped prepare me for my journey ahead!