Growing up in New Fairfield, Conn., Rafael Garcia dreamed of becoming a chef. But he also had a love for science, chemistry and biology. When his father told him about food science, he realized he would be able to combine his two passions.
Not surprisingly, Garcia is a Food Network junkie. His favorite celeb? Alton Brown. He dreams of starting his own microbrewery, but he’d like to work at a major food corporation such as Kraft or Pepsi first.
Garcia searched all over the country for a food science program that would meet his needs. He found it at the University of Maine.
While touring the campus, Garcia was impressed by UMaine’s test kitchen and pilot plant, where faculty work with small- and large-scale producers to make their foods safer, taste better and last longer.
Garcia was also intrigued by the idea of working in a research laboratory as an undergraduate. In the first semester of his freshman year, he landed a job in the lab of mycologist Seanna Annis, who researches fungi that affect Maine’s blueberry crop.
“We have a lot of cool equipment here,” says Garcia, who is also a student in UMaine’s Honors College. “When you go into our labs or the pilot plant, you feel like you’re working at a processing plant or a food company. It’s really cool.”
Image Description: Rafael Garcia