Food Science: The Best Chemistry Lab

April 18, 2014

By Amy Anderson ’14

Compared to other colleges and universities, W&J requires students to take many classes that may not relate to their majors. Although I am an Accounting major, I have taken classes from several different departments such as Psychology, Religion, and Mathematics. To my surprise, the Chemistry lab, Food Science, was my favorite one.

You probably think I am crazy as a non-science major to say I enjoy a science class. I reject science in every way possible, so the idea of a lab scared me. During the semester, science classes have lectures for three hours a week along with six hours devoted to lab work. So instead of that, I found something better during Intersession (a mini-semester in January when students take one class for about three hours every day).  A Chemistry class about food science was offered my freshman year. I immediately signed up.

I walked in on the first day of class and found out there were no tests or quizzes — best news ever! Instead, we were required to give two different presentations on what we learned through our favorite lessons. The lessons each day were more captivating than general chemistry topics. We made pudding, muffins, and ice cream. This taught us how chemical compounds in different ingredients can be successful and make a delicious treat; however, some trials showed the negative results when we did not measure or use ingredients properly. In addition, we learned how coloring can be used deceivingly when we made jello and gummies that had flavors assigned to colors you would not initially put together. For example, one of the gummies was strawberry but was colored orange.  Last, we went over how food-borne illnesses can be created by misuse or complete ignorance of handling certain ingredients, such as cross contamination with meat.

I always recommend this class to any non-science major who needs to satisfy the lab requirement. The laid-back atmosphere with the short time schedule made each class enjoyable. Most importantly, I was able to get a good grade that boosted my GPA!

Amy is a senior Accounting major at Washington & Jefferson College. She is able to graduate this spring with 150 credits, making her eligible to sit for the CPA exam upon graduation.