Food science workshop enhances classroom learning

Janel Gerwin, an instructor at Oak Harbor High School/Penta Career Center, attended the Experience Food Science: Field to Package workshop. This event, sponsored by the Ohio Soybean Council and the Center for Innovation in Food Technology, included hands-on labs and information about the new food industry credentials. Gerwin was able to enhance her Food Science class with activities from the workshop.

The class started the year by studying careers available in food science. They completed the GrowNextGen career survey and the Food Science careers activity on the website. They also watched three videos highlighting different food science careers available on the website. Her students enjoyed the career videos and career inventory. Gerwin found the lessons easy to print and said they follow the “best practices” of teaching. She plans to use other lessons listed on, specifically the lessons included in the Let’s explore food science curriculum collection.

Next, students made yogurt and completed the gram staining activity that Gerwin went through at the workshop. Her class is now studying safety and sanitation. Gerwin said, “On a daily basis, I refer to my visit to Willy’s Salsa and reference their food safety and sanitation procedures and how what we are doing really does relate to food science in the work world.”

Gerwin said her students enjoyed making the yogurt, but did not enjoy its taste. “I will use this example when we talk about sensory experiences, digestion and ‘gut’ health and how that relates to being a food scientist,” she said.

Gerwin particularly appreciated the way the workshop allowed her to be actively involved in the lessons she would share with my students. She said she also refers to the Willy’s Salsa visit quite often, and plans to have her class complete an activity in the commercial kitchens at the Ag Incubator site.

Gerwin said, “This was a great workshop—just what I needed to better my food science class.”