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.