Graduate student Liz Holland talks about her path at CSU

Elizabeth HollandElizabeth “Liz” Holland grew up in State College, Pennsylvania where her dad worked for Penn State. Before moving to Pennsylvania, her family lived in Italy for five years. Her family, especially her mom, learned so much about food and cooking in Italy, so food has always been a big part of Holland’s life! Living in a small town, she knew she wanted to leave Pennsylvania to go to university, so she attended Utah State University in Logan, Utah and received a bachelor’s degree in Biology. Holland’s dad is an ocean acoustician, and he instilled his passion for the ocean upon Holland at a very young age. She wanted to become a marine biologist to study ocean creatures and how acidification impacts them. Holland realized, though, her main passion was in creating a better and more sustainable world, and thought this end goal could be more readily accomplished through food and nutrition.

Research with Associate Professor Tiffany Weir

Holland came to Colorado State Univesity for her master’s in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and began working with Tiffany Weir, associate professor. The project Weir suggested fit her interests perfectly! The study involves researching how edible crickets influence the gut microbiome, as well as how bioavailable their micronutrients are (specifically iron, calcium and zinc). Holland never thought of edible insects as an answer to sustainable protein, but has learned so much working on this project. “It has opened my eyes to the incredible possibilities that await. I love working on this research because it feels like almost every day I am learning a new technique or putting my skills to the test. I have learned more than I ever thought possible in these past two years and am so grateful for everyone in this department for getting me to where I am today. I am a more confident and competent scientist than I was two years ago,” states Holland.

Dream job

Holland’s dream job would be to work for a company like WildType Foods (they grow sushi grade fish from cells), Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, or any smaller company that is working on the issue of sustainable protein alternatives. Holland states, “working as a product developer for a company that aligns with my values would be incredible. Thinking about the future of food and technology is so exciting. On the horizon could be things like a steak made of shrimp! Or bacon that doesn’t require killing a pig? I would love to use my creativity to solve interesting problems like these.”

Advice for students

We asked Holland what advice she would give to incoming students and she stated, “follow your passions! They may not seem to fit together, but there are so many careers out there!” Holland was concerned about how her master’s would open the doors she needed as she is taking a different path than dietetics. She wondered what other kinds of jobs were even out there for a Master of Science in nutrition and food science. She stated, “but don’t worry! You will find a niche, and everyone in the FSHN department will help you toward your goal!”

Holland has been an exceptional employee for FSHN as she filled the role of social media content manager for FSHN’s Instagram account.

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences