By: Adam Bartling
Coming to campus, it is understandable and completely normal to not know exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life, or even pick a major. This was the exact predicament I found myself in a short three years ago.
When I arrived on campus as a freshman, all I knew is that I enjoyed science and was thinking of possibly majoring in Biology or Genetics due to familiarity with those subjects from high school. However, my first week on campus involved the CALS Freshman Orientation and other events that introduce students to the myriad of majors and certificates available to students. At the orientation, I remember one of the CALS Ambassadors at the time telling us freshman to “make yourself uncomfortable” and explore what CALS has to offer during your time at UW-Madison, especially in the first year. Taking this advice to heart, I decided to become completely undecided on what to study and take a risk in exploring an unknown subject such as Global Food Security. I was able to change my schedule around last minute just to accommodate for this new First-Year Interest Group (FIG) that was composed of three classes focusing on food security. During my first semester, I was able to meet with numerous professors and students involved in the study of food security, plant pathology, and chemistry. Throughout these classes and meetings, one of the professors mentioned Food Science as a possible major for me. At the time, I had no idea what Food Science was or what it entailed. However, I was fairly confident that I liked both science and food. With this, I decided to learn more about the major and the jobs offered in the food industry, and I have not looked back.
I became a Food Science major halfway through my freshman year and have since been fortunate enough to gain internships, research experience, and part time jobs in the food industry. Overall, I was a student without any agricultural background coming into college, and with some advice from a CALS Ambassador and a risk, I found my major and my career within the vast agricultural industry.