Wednesday, August 26, 2020


Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Miscellaneous

Ed Hessler

In an article for the science journal Nature, Nikki Forrester introduces us to scientists who switched careers, all four of whom had worked with yeasts on how working with yeast decided to experiment with their careers--beers, of course, baking and tea.

Each thumbnail describes the career path and how experience in science helped them become persons in the business world. One of them, Andrew Strang is frank in admitting, "I never really had a career plan, but knew that doing a PhD in physics...would leave a lot of doors open to me and I enjoyed doing research in interference optics." Strang began by making bread as a student and then delivering is by bicyle.

J. Nikol Jackson-Beckham did her PhD on beer, namely "how its value was formed and manipulated in the US brewing industry from prohibition in the 1920s. She launched her current career after working for the Brewers Association as its diversity ambassador.She says "When people ask me what it's lie to no longer be an academic, I always say I'm definitely an academic, I just left the academy." Jackson-Beckhamn's research is different now as well as her teaching and community service.

Richard Preiss, a microbiologist, founded Escarpment Laboratories with a friend, "do supply liquid cultures to craft and home brewers."Part of what fuels me," he says, "is that I get to participate in research all the time...for our product development with academics.... We focus on understanding the natural diversity in flavours and functions of beer yeasts."

Brewing kombucha tea led Andrew Kraft to pursue two careers, one in business and the other in academia. He'd always had an interest in entrepreneurship and was awarded a competitive award from the West Virginia Business Plan Competition to start a kombuchery (Neighbourhood Kombuchery). Rhodes notes that "With kombucha, I'm juggling multiple brewing cycles and different flavours, while also dealing with accounting, distribution and sales. It's the same as being in a PhD programme, in which you're writing a journal paper, teaching a course and taking a class. Graduate studies teach you time management."He is also a current hire "as a teaching assistant professor in aerospace engineering at West Virginia State University.

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