Before the iconic food brands of Lay’s, Doritos and Cheetos came calling, Jason Niermann started honing his product development skills on the third floor of Bevier Hall.
“The first time I walked into the food science and human nutrition food lab in Bevier Hall, it was an eye opening experience,” says PepsiCo R&D’s Dallas-based senior director of product development (BS ’01/chemical engineering, MS ’02/food science).
“I grew up with a fascination of food by setting up taste tests after family grocery shopping trips. I thought I left all that behind as I progressed through the chemical engineering labs at Roger Adams Lab intending to go into the pharmaceutical industry.
“Little did I know my perfect combination of a test kitchen and chemistry lab was just a short walk down Goodwin Ave.
“Dr. Susan Brewer and Dr. Keith Cadwallader were great mentors as I worked through my first food science experiments. Let’s just say I found plenty of ways not to make marshmallows as I learned about protein science.”
Niermann is also a certified culinary scientist, as conferred by the Research Chefs Association, and currently leads new snacks product development efforts across the globe for PepsiCo.
“The food lab in Bevier Hall was more than just learning how to conduct proper experiments,” he says. “Meeting students from different countries and working in team settings taught me the cultural aspect of food being a common bond between all of us.”