WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Sasha McCorkle’s dream is to create
healthy, innovative food products.
That’s why she chose to study food science at Purdue
University, home to trendsetters in product development and quality assurance in
the food industry. Upon graduation in May, McCorkle will pursue higher education
to prepare her for a career as a product developer.
“Product development is typically for big companies where
you develop foods that would go on a grocery store shelf,” said McCorkle, a
senior from West Point. “I want to make sure the products I make are very
nutritionally sound and helpful and beneficial to the consumer. It would be cool
to see my product on the shelf.”
McCorkle has prepared for her dream career by immersing
herself in extracurricular activities, study-abroad trips and internships.
Her first internship began after her junior year in college,
when she worked at the Cargill headquarters in Minneapolis.
“I worked in their research and development section in a
texturing solutions group,” she said. “We were applying a seaweed extract into
This summer, McCorkle will intern with Mead Johnson in
Evansville. Her responsibilities will revolve around nutrition and product
Through hands-on experiences at internships and in class,
McCorkle has increased her drive to make a difference in her line of work.
“I started college more shy, but being involved in more
clubs and activities at Purdue has allowed me to meet lots of new people and be
a more outgoing person,” she said. “I am a fifth generation going to Purdue, so
having that history of being there with my great-great grandpa being in the
College of Agriculture is part of the reason I’m interested.
“I’m a very driven person, and I don’t want to slack off. I
want to make my family proud.”
McCorkle always takes time to have fun while studying. She
enjoys taking advantage of classes that pique her interest, such as wine
“I think it is fun that Purdue offers so many electives,”
she said. “I’ll be taking a food fermentation class, so I’ll get to see all that
goes on and get to make things in the pilot lab. I’ll get to do more than read —
I’ll apply concepts.
“I got to take bowling class, and I was in culinary arts in
food science class. That way in product development I would be able to
communicate with chefs really well in their terms.”
Among the list of clubs she has taken part in are the Food
Science Club, Passports Club and Purdue Latin and Ballroom Dancing Team. She
also gives tours of the Food Science building to visitors and prospective
McCorkle participated in a month-long trip to Italy after
her sophomore year. She studied the food, wine and culture of Italy while
exploring new sites and cities.
“After being there I definitely want to travel more,” she
said. “My mom was a travel agent, but we mostly stayed within the U.S. Seeing
other countries is something new and exciting.”
Her Italian journey inspired her to travel to Greece for a
spring break trip in 2014. McCorkle will see Olympia, Delphi and Corinth, among
other famous cities.
She advised future students to make the most of their
college careers by networking and attending campus events.
“Go to the career fairs,” she emphasized. “Make sure you
really go and talk to all of the companies. They do remember. I went back
sophomore and junior year, and they still remembered who I was from freshman
year. It’s very helpful, and they were more willing to talk and offer