CALS Alumna Combines Science and Creativity in Career
Meghan Benscheidt originally came to the University of Idaho for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences’ Department of Animal and Veterinary Science. The 2008 graduate learned about the UI/WSU School of Food Science through her experiences as a CALS Ambassador.
“When I would talk to students about food science, I was telling them about the great job placement and all the opportunities and well-paying careers, and I thought, ‘I should take my own advice,’” Benscheidt said.
She followed that advice and earned a masters in food science after completing her bachelors in animal science. In 2008 she began her career as a Production Supervisor with Safeway.
“It gave me a strong start in the food industry because there was a lot of emphasis placed on production, machinery and management,” Benscheidt said. “All of the sudden I had a crew of 20 people that I had to manage, which I’d never had to do before. There were a lot of really good experiences associated with that job.”
Benscheidt was promoted to Quality Supervisor at Safeway’s Clackamas, Oregon Dairy Plant before accepting a dual position as the Quality and Research and Development Manager at Auburn Dairy Products in Washington. She held that role until March 2015 when she accepted her current position as New Product Development Manager with Darigold.
“My past experiences have allowed me to work in my current position,” Benscheidt said. “I use my background in food quality systems, regulatory requirements and my understanding of manufacturing processes to aid in developing new products.”
As a New Product Development Manager, Benscheidt works in a cross-functional team within Darigold. She works under the marketing department and helps by providing technical information as the team brainstorms new products. She also works with other food scientists and vendor partners to share new product ideas with the team.
“I truly enjoy my job; I get a lot out of my work,” Benscheidt said. “It’s a nice blend of being technical and being creative.”
The UI/WSU School of Food Science offers many opportunities to students, but Benscheidt noted the faculty and facilities as two of the things she appreciated the most during her time at UI.
“I feel like I received a high quality education there,” she said. “The professors were always really engaged in what they were teaching and the facilities were there when you needed them. To be able to utilize both universities was pretty amazing.”