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Outstanding Senior

Cara Boothroyd, a native of Endwell, New York, was named 2016 Outstanding Senior by the College of Agricultural Sciences. She also was chosen as the student marshal for the college's spring commencement ceremony.

The Outstanding Senior Award, sponsored by the College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society and the Coaly Society, honors the senior who best balances outstanding academics, extracurricular and leadership activities, work experience, and communication skills.

Boothroyd was a food science major who also completed prerequisite course work for medical school "Food science at Penn State was the perfect match for me because it filled my need for scientific inquiry, problem solving, and creativity," she said. "Food science research also has practical implications in the medical field that fueled my passion for health and well being. Food can be medicine but also can cause disease. When food scientists collaborate with doctors, they can put their research into practice and help prevent and treat disease."

Boothroyd's undergraduate career was marked by exceptional achievement and recognition. She graduated with a cumulative grade-point average of 4.0 and won numerous scholarships awarded by the college, food-science-related professional societies, and other organizations. She enriched her education by participating in research, investigating how mushroom powder with L-Ergothioneine, an antioxidant produced from fungi and bacteria, might affect probiotic survival in yogurt. She entered this project in the American Dairy Science Association poster competition and presented it at the association's annual meeting in July.

For the past four years, Boothroyd also worked with Penn State's Ice Cream Short Course, Ice Cream 101, and the Cultured Products Short Course, helping to teach aspiring ice cream shop owners and dairy industry workers. In addition, she supplemented her course work with an internship at Chobani Inc. after her freshman year and with a study-abroad program in Amsterdam, Netherlands, last summer.

Boothroyd was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, served as a peer educator through the HealthWorks program, performed more than 30 hours of community service each semester through the Alpha Epsilon Delta pre-health professional society, ran with Penn State Club Cross Country, and served as a Eucharistic minister at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center. She was also a member of the Food Science Club and the Food Science Product Development Team, which is advancing to the next stage of competition for its "Garden Poppers."

Boothroyd is attending medical school at SUNY Upstate Medical University College of Medicine. She plans to stay connected to the agricultural community by practicing rural medicine in an area driven by farmers and their families.