Working the day away in a chocolate factory is a mouth-watering dream for most. But for Heather Arentz, chocolate product development is a sweet reality.
Arentz’s love for the food science field was sparked during a summer job after her freshman year at Penn State University when she began working at a Godiva Chocolatier outlet. The shop’s backroom was filled with books about all things chocolate and chocolate-making. Fascinated, Arentz found herself reading up on the subject when there was free time.
Today, she uses her passion as a research scientist at The Hershey Company in Hershey, Pennsylvania. She has worked for the company for the last 15 years, including developing new products for the Hershey brand, such as Hershey’s Popped Snack Mix.
“I love using a mixture of science, technical expertise and creativity to create new products,” she said. “It’s fun to see those products displayed on store shelves for people to enjoy.”
Still eager to learn about the field, Arentz attended Kansas State University Global Campus and earned her master’s degree in food science in May 2018.
Pursuing a master’s degree, especially remotely, can be daunting, so Arentz knew she had to find a program that was the perfect fit. Global Campus checked all of the boxes and gave her the flexibility she needed.
“I knew my course schedule early on, so I was able to work at my own pace, ” Arentz said. “That was especially helpful because my job at the time required travel. Global Campus allowed me to create a healthy work, school and life balance.”
K-State’s faculty and staff, who made online courses as face-to-face as possible, also impressed Arentz.
“All of my professors were very responsive whenever I had questions and made the online learning experience an enjoyable one,” Arentz said. “My advisor, Fadi Aramouni, was incredible and helped me navigate the process.”
Such strong connections inspired her to make the trip to Manhattan last fall to visit campus in person. While there, Arentz met with current students to talk about their shared love of K-State and the food science field.
After completing the master’s program and visiting the university, she is still far from finished with K-State.
“I look forward to continuing to build the Hershey-Kansas State University relationship!” Arentz said.