Meat of the Matter: Food Science Major Tastes Dream Job in Poland

Posted: May 1, 2014

Most college students head to a university following high school graduation. Third-year Food Science major Steve Bookbinder took a different path.
Steve Bookbinder interned with Animex, Poland's largest meat processing company.

Steve Bookbinder interned with Animex, Poland's largest meat processing company.

After two years at the Culinary Institute of America, and another two years working in the food industry, Bookbinder decided to take his experience to the next level. He enrolled in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences to better understand the food industry, specifically the meat industry.

"It's my dream to own my own meat processing plant and also to be involved in both the import and export of American and European products," said the Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., native.

"My goal while at Penn State is to expose myself to all sorts of different product-development and operations environments in the meat industry."

Last summer, Bookbinder found an opportunity that met this goal at Animex, Poland's largest meat processing company.

As an operations intern, he was given specific projects concerning operations problems that needed to be solved.

"Animex probably saw my work as an intern as a great opportunity to have someone come at low cost both to learn a lot and to contribute academically to what's going on and recommend how to streamline processes," he said.

"I learned a lot by seeing how the company operates, how it made products, the cultural differences, and the regulations in Europe and how they compare to U.S. regulations. Overall, it was a very good exchange for both the company and me."

From his experience working in kitchens and his exposure to the different culture and workforce in Poland, Bookbinder understands the importance of learning basic skill sets and building upon them to work his way up in the industry.

"Start somewhere and get experience – that's my advice to other students," he said.

Learn about the Food Science major.