Far beyond cooking
Interested in what makes food...well...food? If so, you might consider connecting with professor Barbara Rasco in the food science department.
Professor Rasco, who has degrees in biochemical engineering and law in addition to a Ph.D. in food science, teaches food processing technology, food product development, and food law here at WSU.
Rasco offers students different perspectives on her class materials. For example, she discusses the technologies, the underlying science, the microbiology, and the engineering that are involved in getting food from the farm to the consumer in a form that's safe, nutritious, and tasty.
What can I do with food science?
Create new and improved food products
Students in Rasco's department have developed quite a few interesting products at WSU.
Among them is a uniquely formulated sports drink that won national recognition in the IFT Student Association Product Development Competition. The WSU Office of Entrepreneurship and the WSU Research Foundation helped the students form a company, ATP Beverages, which now sells the drink in grocery stores as the RAZA two-part sport drink system.
Other student products include a peanut sauce that can be manufactured on a space station for astronauts; special twisty cheese for kids that makes calcium fun to eat; an award-winning, gluten-free dessert product called “Almond Dingers” that provides a safe treat for people with wheat allergies; and dairy drinks and ice cream containing probiotics (bioactive components with beneficial nutritional and health properties).
National food defense
Professor Rasco and others in the food science program are currently helping the food industry develop preparedness plans in food defense and bio-terrorism.
Most of their current work, Rasco says, is "on the regulatory compliance and preparedness side of things, helping companies to have plans and strategies in place so they can make it harder for their products to be targeted by terrorists."