Career Connections

Karen Valde

Major: Food Science

Minor/option/emphasis: Culinary Science

Year: Senior

Company/Organization: Land O' Lakes
Company/Organization website:
Title: Quality Assurance intern
Destination: Spencer, WI
Timeframe: May 2015-August 2015

Advisor/Coordinator Email:

I was responsible for...
I had two major projects that I was doing with my internship. One of them was updating for accuracy and alignment what they called their Manufacturing Control Charts. This is a supplement document for HACCP. This project also required me to identify all of the magnets, filters, screens, and strainers used in the plant to be added to this plan. My other major was establish color standards for the cheese products made in the plant. I used a Hunterlab colorimeter to establish the standards of these products. Each product had their own unique L, a, and b values which I was responsible for finding what that would be. I also had some other more minor projects with my internship such as providing my manager with a visual representation of our micro data in the form of a graph and micro swabbing.

My most valuable effort...
My most valuable project was the cheese color standards. It was most valuable because these standards are being used in the plant today. It's really great to see all of the hard work I put in this summer is actually being used. It makes me feel like Land O' Lakes really valued what I had to bring to the company. They gave me really work and they use that real work today.

I will never forget...
My most memorable experience was learning how cheese slices were produced. I loved the slice department and I loved going down to the floor and just watching the slice operation occur. In general, I liked learning about cheese production.

Advice for others...
Be flexible. I ended up in a place that I thought I never would, but I took the experience for what it was. I learned a lot about what I want to do in the future and I also learned a lot about myself and what I am capable of.

I first learned about this career-building experience from...
I talked to Land O' Lakes at the Business, Industry, and Technology career fair. I talked to a recruiter that told me about the position and about some of the food science topics I was interested in and what Land O' Lakes had in that area.

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