Sasha McCorkle, a senior in food science at Purdue University, visits historical sites in Italy as part of a study-abroad program. McCorkle learned about Italian wineries, cultural sites and food processing on the trip.
Sasha McCorkle, a senior in food science at Purdue University, visits historical sites in Italy as part of a study-abroad program. McCorkle learned about Italian wineries, cultural sites and food processing on the trip.
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 deli meats.”

This summer, McCorkle will intern with Mead Johnson in Evansville. Her responsibilities will revolve around nutrition and product development.

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 appreciation.

“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 students.

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 internships.”