Jared Diehl, senior in culinary food science, completed three internships while studying at Iowa State. He encourages students to start looking for internships early on in their college careers, and to not be afraid of attending the career fairs. Contributed photo.

Internship experiences prepare graduating senior for entrance into professional world

While only one internship is required for culinary food science majors, one graduating student decided to complete three.

Jared Diehl came to Iowa State University to pursue a degree in culinary food science.

“I always knew I wanted to do something with food, but I knew I didn’t want to work in a restaurant,” Diehl said.

To help build his resume and give him an idea of the type of career he’d like to have upon graduation, Diehl began attending Iowa State’s career fairs and looking for internships his first year at Iowa State. He landed his first internship the summer after his freshman year, obtaining a position at Aspen Meadows Resort in Aspen, Colo. While the experience there was great, he said it opened his eyes to what working full-time in a restaurant would be like.

“That really helped solidify that I don’t want to work in a restaurant,” Diehl said.

His next internship was with Emmi Roth USA, a leading provider of specialty cheeses in Madison, Wis. He was employed as a culinary development intern, taking food trucks all over the U.S. He also had the opportunity to develop dip and sandwich recipes, and even make a recipe booklet.

His final internship was a research and development position with Johnsonville Sausage in Sheboygan, Wis., working on flavor development and meat texture analysis. He even had the chance to develop a flavoring for sausage. Even though the pH was too low, making the sausage appear to be gray, it was a learning experience.

“I felt like I was actually contributing,” he said.

Diehl appreciated the fact that he was treated like a regular employee, not just an intern, while at Johnsonville. He remembers introducing himself as an intern to the company president, who corrected him by stating Diehl was not an intern, but rather a part of the company.

With three internships under his belt, Diehl is grateful for the experience and independency he’s gained at each one. He feels his first two internships played a role in his ability to obtain his internship at Johnsonville, working in a position he’d like to one day hold as a professional.

“This past year, being able to do something I want to do for a career was amazing,” Diehl said.

In addition to his internships, Diehl has become prepared for entrance into the professional world through the culinary science classes he’s taken at Iowa State, especially the one where students have the opportunity to work in The Joan Bice Underwood Tearoom.

“You get to see the restaurant side and the back of the house,” Diehl said. “When you’re at a restaurant and you’re wondering what’s taking your food so long or why certain things are happening, you can understand what’s going on.”

Finding time to get involved in clubs and organizations is another aspect of his college career that has had a significant impact on his time at Iowa State. Diehl is a member of the Culinary Science Club, taking part in cooking competitions and club trips. In addition, he served as a member of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Student Council during his sophomore and junior years. He liked how the council gave him insight into the happenings within the university, including discussions on differential tuition.

Helping him find success in all his college endeavors have been Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition senior lecturer Erica Beirman and academic adviser Mickie Deaton. They have impacted his time as a culinary food science student and introduced him to key people along the way.

“Erica and Mickie do a good job of getting you connected with people,” Diehl said.

Beirman said Diehl has made the most of his time at Iowa State, getting involved in a variety of clubs and activities to enhance not only his knowledge in culinary food science, but his overall experience at the university.

“Jared is a student who has taken every opportunity presented to him and used those experiences to positively impact his undergraduate journey here at Iowa State,” Beirman said.

As far as advice for current or future culinary food science students, Diehl said it’s never too early to start attending career fairs. Not only will it help you find an internship, but it’s a great way to start networking and connecting with individuals in the industry.

“Start early and even though the career fair might seem intimidating, just go,” Diehl said.