Candace Clark (B.S., 2012) is working on innovative food engineering as a Cheese Research Scientist with Glanbia Foods in Twin Falls, Idaho. She credits her time in the USU Biological Engineering program with exposing her to diverse experiences and preparing her to tackle the challenges of working as an engineer.
Clark works with the Cheese Research and Development Group at Glanbia. Her primary responsibilities include developing new cheese products and processes, with a focus on developing new analytical lab methods.
Shortly after Clark began working with Glanbia, the company began the design and construction of the Cheese Innovation Center, a state-of-the-art research and development facility. The Cheese Innovation Center tests equipment and processes related to cheese-making, processing, development and functionality.
The facility is comprised of a pilot plant with equipment and processes used to make commercial products; processing equipment that replicates consumer uses of cheese, like slicing and shredding; a culinary laboratory with commercial grade restaurant equipment for testing how cheese products will perform as a pizza topping or melted in a sauce; and an analytical laboratory dedicated to research of cheese functionality and characteristics.
“I joined just at the perfect time to be able to help plan this building,” Clark said. “It was an awesome opportunity and really tied together a lot of the engineering processes and project management that I learned in class.”
Clark was hired by Glanbia after interacting with the company at a USU career fair. The recruiters from Glanbia originally intended to fill a mechanical engineering position, but they were impressed with Clark’s biological engineering background and her willingness to rise to a challenge. “I was able to convince them to take a chance on a biological engineering student,” Clark said. She has encouraged the company to hire other biological engineers. “We hired two [USU] biological engineers last year and had another biological engineering intern this last summer,” she said.
In her spare time, the Rigby, Idaho, native enjoys playing her violin with the Twin Falls Magic Valley Symphony. And finally, a cheese recommendation: “My favorite is our Jalapeno Habanero Pepper Jack,” she said.