Q&A with outstanding grad master’s student Heidi Engelhardt

Heidi Engelhardt is graduating with a Master of Science in food science and nutrition, food science concentration.

Heidi Engelhardt

Where did you grow up and what brought you to CSU?

I am originally from Westerville, Ohio, but moved to Fort Collins from Ames/Des Moines, Iowa. I wanted to pursue my master’s degree in food science with a focus on fermentation. However, as I went through my schooling, my focus switched to high elevation food preparation.

What obstacles have you overcome to get to graduation?

An obstacle I had to overcome to get to my graduation on time, was changing the delivery of my thesis. My research was based on a survey and instead of developing some high elevation recipes in the Gifford Building kitchens, I focused on how to help people use food science to adjust their recipes at home. This became more important as everyone was staying home experimenting in the kitchen during the pandemic.

How have your academic experiences here and your professors, mentors, and advisers helped you overcome these obstacles and/or be successful in your major?

As overwhelming as the pandemic was, it was great to see my advisers, mentors, and peers come together to problem solve on the spot and switch up our perspectives. It was a challenge, but I’m really proud of how my thesis turned out. I loved my project my adviser, and my committee — it never really seemed like the pandemic was holding us back. We just switched up our delivery and maybe the next student can do the work that is more in-person focused.

What activities have you been most involved in?

I’ve had two internships during my time here at CSU: at New Belgium Brewing in the Sensory Lab and in the Vanilla Lab at Rodelle, Inc. It was really fun to diversify my food science experience while taking relevant classes.

What are some accomplishments that you are most proud of during your time at CSU?

I took STAT511 which is the R Studio class with five other FSHN students. We had a consistent, once a week Teams meeting to work through the homework together and I think that’s why I liked the class so much. I never thought I would enjoy coding but working with others (even virtually) is what school is all about and it made a world of difference in my thesis work.

How did you adjust to school and work during the COVID-19 pandemic?

I never thought in a million years I would enjoy online school. I love being present and asking questions in person and connecting with other like-minded individuals. However, the flexibility was helpful in that I could practice excellent time management skills to complete my schoolwork and my thesis. It helped that I have two cuddly dogs that were more than happy that we were home all the time! The intermittent dog walks, bike rides, and runs helped me manage all the stress surrounding the pandemic.

What will you miss most about CSU?

I miss campus! I only had one full semester on campus, and I really miss biking to class, walking to labs and being present around others who are as obsessed with food as I am.

What are your plans after graduating?

I’ll be staying in Fort Collins and job hunting! I will love any job that is surrounded by food so I’m excited to see what is out there. In between, I’ll be biking, hiking, running, and climbing!

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