Savoring His Time at BYU
“What is the state vegetable of Oklahoma? A watermelon. Nobody got it right.” Wendell Loh (NDFS ‘23) was asked this question and many others as he participated at a regional food science college bowl. “It was like a trivia competition for food science with questions that ranged from really scientific and technical to funny and unexpected,” Loh explains. He was honored to represent BYU in California and win for his school.
Loh grew up in Singapore as the youngest of several siblings—many of whom are BYU alumni. As an international applicant, he had to put down a major on his BYU application and chose biochemistry, but he “felt like there was something missing.” He attended a major fair and met a professor who informed him of lab opportunities in food science. Eager to do research, he applied and got the job. After some gentle cajoling from many professors, Loh switched his major to food science and was happy to “find [himself] in a better fitting environment.”
Loh had many fulfilling experiences at BYU. He was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi honor society and became the student vice president. “I feel like my involvement with the honor society greatly helped me with networking,” he says. “I was able to meet people I never would have without the opportunity. We never would have crossed paths without Phi Kappa Phi.” The organization also gave him the opportunity to share his voice. “I’m grateful for the chance the honor society gave me to give a speech to new members, I never imagined I would have an opportunity like that.”
Loh has advice that may benefit other international students: “With the uncertainty of being an international student and getting a job after graduation, we need to work harder in order to stand out and have them take the risk on us.” International students who want to work in America after graduation need the employer to sponsor their visa, making it challenging to secure US employment. Loh continues, “Work hard to stand out and earn a spot in a company or graduate school. I got a job with a company that is willing to take a chance. You don’t have to be in the business school to find a company who will do that—you can get a STEM degree and still get a job as an international student.”