Michelle Orner is the quality manager at Penn State’s Berkey Creamery, which means she’s responsible for making sure that the ice cream you eat is safe as well as tasty.
Q: Did you always see yourself winding up in food science?
A: No. I did not even know about food science as a major until I got to Penn State. Once I found out about it and all the different areas it covered, I switched to food science immediately before my first semester was over.
Q: Where do you come into the process at the Berkey Creamery?
A: I am involved in all parts of the process at the Creamery. I am responsible for the Food Safety Plans for each production line, good manufacturing practices, verifying safety/quality of incoming ingredients, testing of finished products and ingredient/nutritional labeling.
Q: What role do you think that a scientist plays in society? Does it remain constant or evolve with the times?
A: I believe a scientist can make new discoveries, improve the safety food, medications and cosmetics, improve efficiency, etc. Really, the list is endless. I believe it is constantly changing based on demands.