Food Science Student Making Food Better
When recent Washington State University graduate senior Jake Fischer served in the United States Air Force and ate military MREs (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) day after day, it made him hungry to learn how to make military food better. While he was in Afghanistan, he decided that enrolling in the Food Science program at WSU was his opportunity to learn how to potentially make positive changes to foods he ate every day.
Fischer already knew Washington State. He grew up in Pomeroy on his grandfather’s ranch, where working in the wheat fields germinated his interest in agriculture. Fischer envisioned a variety of food products that could be developed from the grain in the fields he once helped harvest.
“While I was in the military, I got to see how agriculture is a main staple all across the world,” Fischer said. He also encountered low-yielding farms and spent time working on projects to help poor nations develop.
Fischer realized that military rationed food left much to be desired. “Eating MREs every day—it really changed my perspective. Developing a new MRE is something I thought of while I was in the military because the food wasn’t the greatest. We would even lose weight on missions if we ate only MREs. I thought, there has to be a better way.”
With these first-hand experiences, Jake began thinking of ways to develop tastier food products.
Fischer enrolled in the School of Food Science at WSU in the Spring of 2010. While taking classes, he also involved himself in a variety of extracurricular activities including the Food Science Club, Food Product Development Team and CAHNRS Ambassadors, earning himself the CAHNRS Outstanding Freshman Award and finishing strong as the recipient of the School of Food Science Outstanding Senior Award. After just three and a half years, he graduated with a degree in food science and went to work for a well-known food company here in the Northwest, ConAgra Foods.
Fischer said he feels confident that he reached the goals he set for his college experience. The job he has accepted in production at ConAgra will get him closer to his goal of developing new and better foods.
“I feel like this is a dream job for me,” Fischer said. “I get to work with a great company and do something I love. I will also have the opportunity to fulfill the dream of designing a product that I can buy off a grocery store shelf.”