How I chose my major: Fermentation Science and Technology

two students pour hops into a fermentation barrel

In the “How I chose my major” series, we showcase the academic paths CSU students have taken, and students tell their stories in their own words. Read on to meet Kate, a CSU Fermentation Science and Technology major, and learn how she decided it was the perfect path for her college career and far beyond.

I first heard of fermentation sciences through a “five-year plan” assignment in high school. Scrolling through the hundreds of majors offered in various colleges across Texas, I realized that nothing had really stuck with me. I knew I wanted to be in STEM, and I had a very big passion for agriculture through my time in FFA (Future Farmers of America), but I wanted to pick a major that interested me right off the bat. Fermentation sciences caught my eye through its unique focus on brewing beer, but as I learned more about the program, I soon found that it taught students about much more than that. Yogurt, kombucha, cheese, wine, coffee — CSU’s Fermentation Science and Technology major created a scientific foundation for all of these products. It was a major that was extremely versatile and had hands-on fermentation experiences built into the curriculum.

I remember being absolutely dazzled by these details, but still not being completely convinced. Growing up in Texas, going to an out-of-state college like Colorado State made me nervous. Did I really want to jump into the deep end for my education? With this concern in mind, my parents and I took a tour of CSU and the department’s facility. We saw the classrooms, the Brew Kitchen and Innovation Lab, and met with the associate director of the program who walked us through a few key points of the curriculum past what I had previously known. Somewhere during that process, I fell in love with the campus and felt reassured that joining the fermentation program, despite it being a big — and, frankly, terrifying — step.

Now, as I begin my senior year, I can reflect on my time here, and I am grateful for my decision. I’ve loved the unique food science classes I’ve taken, made great friends, and am confident that I will find success with the knowledge I have gained through my time here. Along the way, my major has done a great job of opening industry doors through guest speakers, industry instructors, and real-life experience through our on-site teaching brewery, as well as our commercially modeled Ramskeller brewery. I have had the honor of being one of the Quality Assurance/Quality Control Lab interns for our operations in these systems.

In the future, I hope to combine my newfound lab skills with the formal fermentation-related education I’ve learned to work as a QA/QC lab technician in the brewing industry. While I feel passionate about this direction, I continue to stay open to other paths moving forward.


Kate Haas is an out-of-state Fermentation Sciences and Technology major in her senior year at CSU. She is a student in the University Honors Program and is minoring in Business Administration and Food Safety. Kate is heavily involved in the fermentation program as a QA/QC Lab intern and has worked in the program’s malt lab, which services local industry partners. Kate enjoys being outdoors, visiting with friends, and hitting the gym between classes.

Want to hear other student stories?

Hear students talk about finding their CSU majors in their own words.