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Whetting An Appetite For Science

She’s only been out of school for a couple of years, but Elizabeth Borgwardt is making a lot of bread.

Actually, it’s not bread; it’s breading, the stuff that makes chicken, onion rings (and anything else you care to deep-fry) crisp or extra crispy.

And she’s not making it; she’s making it better. The Whitelaw native is part of a 20-member research and development team working on breadings and coatings at Kerry Ingredients, a Beloit firm that markets to restaurants and food manufacturers.
“We develop coating systems, different flours, different sugars, different bread crumbs. We can adjust formulas of the bread itself to accomplish different goals,” Borgwardt explains.

She prepared for her career by blending classroom training with a mix of outside activities that enhanced her technical knowledge, bolstered her confidence and developed her critical-thinking and communication skills.

While at the UW-Madison, she served as a College Ambassador, one of a corps of outgoing undergraduates who promote the College to high school students. She spoke at Wisconsin high schools and gave guided campus tours to prospective students and their parents. One fond memory is of being invited with other Ambassadors to Dean Elton Aberle’s home, where the group had dinner and brainstormed new ideas for recruiting students.

Giving high schoolers an early peek at science-related careers was a job that Borgwardt could put her heart into. It was in high school that she first realized she could apply her interest in chemistry to a career in food science, courtesy of an article shared by her Valders High School chemistry teacher.

In college, she also held offices in the Food Science Club and got involved in the Institute of Food Technologists, where she worked to raise awareness of the food science field. She also managed to get some solid technical experience. Before graduating with a bachelor’s in food science in May 2000, Borgwardt had a student job with the Center for Dairy Research on campus, where she did analytical testing in the cheese application program. Borgwardt also interned at Foremost Farms USA the summer before she graduated.

Borgwardt enjoys the diversity of her work. She believes her education prepared her well for the diverse applications related to food technology. “But it also gave me the tools to be successful in any industry.” She adds that her education and time as an Ambassador also gave her the confidence and the capability to be successful.