Ag Journeys

“The students are the difference.”

Lauren Wolf

Hometown: Plymouth, Minnesota

Major: Food Science

Minor: International Agriculture

Clubs: Food Science Club (co-fundraising chair), CHAARG (Changing Health, Attitudes, and Actions To Recreate Girls at Penn State)

Favorite Creamery Flavor: Monster Mash

Good at: Photography, baking, doing puzzles, winning at board games, eating ice cream, making guacamole, watching football, studying, staying organized.

Student Group Photo

The students are the difference.

“During my high school senior year, I did dozens of online recruitment events for dozens of different schools. Penn State was a total outlier. The big difference was the students. Kids, just a couple years older than me, junior and seniors, were on the call, talking about the program. You could feel their enthusiasm. They love it. Now I get it.”

Everything is there for a reason.

“Food science teaches you to become a compulsive ingredients reader. One thing I’ve learned is that everything is there for a reason. Yes, simpler is better. But if the consumer expects tastes, textures, nutritional qualities, shelf stability, and so on and if you take any one ingredient away—the food won’t be the same.”

Mix, eggs, bowl, spoon

Don’t give up on mixes.

“One of my career goals is to be part of an industry team making box baking mixes. Some foodies might raise an eyebrow about that, but mixes get people into the kitchen. They give people confidence to tell their own food story. They’re a jumping off point for a life of making great food for people you love.”

I was a competitive swimmer for 10 years.

“Now I just do it for fitness and maybe more importantly, to sort of zone out. I have a busy life, full of people, ideas, and responsibilities. Swimming—it’s just me and the water.”

Wolf swimming
Wolf holding Penn State flag

Don’t miss out on the chance to study abroad.

“During the summer of 2022, I studied abroad in Thessaloniki, Greece, for six weeks. I was blown away. Then, I enrolled in a full-semester program in Perugia, Italy. The Umbra Institute is a perfect place for food science students or students interested in agriculture and sustainability to study.”

“Make a plan, stay organized, and lean on friends when it gets overwhelming.”

Happy Valley is for everyone.

“I’m not big on parties. My idea of fun is cooking dinner for friends and then playing board games. Or a day trip to a small-town Pennsylvania apple fest. That’s one of the great things about Penn State. There’s a great big community that loves Penn State, and then, within that, there’s your group.”

I learned how to learn.

“When I hit my first food science internship, I was ready from day one. With just two years under my belt, I knew a lot about food science and was working in the lab. Even more, I knew how to learn. My Penn State Food Science experience taught me how to stay humble, ask questions, and soak in a lot of information.”

Clubs are a doorway to the industry.

“The Food Science club has opened the real world of food science. Professionals from all over the food world, most of them Penn State grads, talk about internships and what the industry is really like. Both of my internships came from introductions at the club. It’s been a fun source of friends too.”

The help is there. Take it!

“Physics was stressful. Beyond regular office hours, faculty stepped up and gave me the help I needed to succeed. When I wanted to study abroad, my adviser, Dr. Sigler, worked closely with me to make sure I could get the credits I needed to stay on schedule and have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”