Even with seven months of studying and bi-weekly practices under their belts, students on BYU’s Food Science College Bowl team continued reviewing and quizzing each other on the way to the airport, in their hotel room, and on the road to the Pacific West Regional Food Science College Bowl Competition. All that studying paid off—BYU took first place in the competition!
“This competition is taken very seriously among all participating universities and the sponsoring organization,” says Laura Jefferies, associate professor of food science and coach of the victorious team. “The bragging rights for winning the regional or national competition cannot be understated!”
The competition brings together students from programs across the US and Canada and encourages them to master subjects related to food science. BYU’s team comprises food science undergraduate and graduate students and one dietetics student. Each student on the team has worked tirelessly since September to become an expert on three to four of the competition’s sixteen subjects. Subjects include chemistry, physics, biochemistry, sensory analysis, food engineering, and nutrition.
Team members studied independently and met together twice a week for seven months to quiz each other and practice competing. They held a competition against the food science faculty members and scrimmages with graduate students and students from relevant classes. “Winning doesn’t just depend on being ‘smart,’” Jefferies explains. “To win, you must train.”
The team—Maggie Taukus, Gwen Gustafson, Kanae Lee, Wendell Loh, Sabrina Sui, Rachel Pierce, Amy Pitts, Ryan Kim, and Tyler Jarrad—continues to practice and will represent the Pacific West region at the national competition in July in Chicago. BYU has won the national competition three times.
Jefferies is proud of her students not only because of their success but also because of their character. They were dedicated to their studies, to representing BYU with honor, and to including one another throughout their journey. “It is truly my honor to be among them,” Jefferies says. “They are champions of life, no matter the outcome of a competition.”