CALS Alumna Manages Quality at Glanbia Foods
When Athena Beckwith first came to the University of Idaho, she planned on following her father’s footsteps as a veterinarian. When she learned about food science through her time as a College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Ambassador, those plans changed.
“We had to learn about every major in the college,” she said. “When we got to food science one of the professors came and talked to us about it and it just sounded really interesting. I got curious and talked to him more and decided to switch over.”
The Jordan Valley, Oregon, native originally planned to attend a university in Oregon, but her brother was attending UI so she came for a visit.
“I really liked it at UI and it was also really affordable,” she said. “When I came to visit, I loved the hometown feel and the spirit of the Vandals. It’s very spirited and there is a lot of school pride; I think that’s what won me over.”
Beckwith graduated from UI in 2013 from the UI/WSU School of Food Science. She accepted a management trainee position with Glanbia Foods right after graduation.
“In the management trainee program you rotate to different positions to gain experience and learn different areas of the business,” she said. “The company sees what your talents and passions are and what the trainee is interested in. Then you work together to find the best fit.”
After completing the trainee program, Beckwith accepted her current position as a quality manager with Glanbia’s Richfield Whey Plant. In that role, she reviews the plant’s records and analytics, helps the team investigate any issues, keeps everyone aware of what is happening in the plant and helps the sales and warehouse departments determine what products go to what customers. She also works to ensure that the plant is meeting all regulations.
“I like the diversity of what I do every day,” Beckwith said. “It’s never the same. It takes a lot of problem solving and I really enjoy that.”
Beckwith is still new to her career, but hopes to eventually move up in management and obtain a broad foundation of experiences in the industry.
“Food scientists can really do a lot within the food industry,” she said. “You can go far if you really apply yourself.”