CDR Mentored Graduate Students Receive Scholarships

The Center for Dairy Research (CDR) and Nelson-Jameson are proud to announce that Maggie Becher and John Larsen have both been selected to receive the inaugural Nelson-Jameson Scholarships to advance dairy foods research being conducted by CDR. Maggie and John are graduate students in the Department of Food Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and are mentored by CDR scientists Rani Govindasamy-Lucey and Rodrigo Ibáñez, respectively.

Maggie is currently pursuing an M.S. degree and hopes to continue on for a Ph.D. in dairy chemistry and is researching string cheese and examining possible strategies to extend its shelf life. Her research involves looking at functional properties like stringiness as well as flavor changes during storage. In addition, Maggie is also researching how to extend the characteristic squeak of fresh Cheese Curds. Both projects have the potential to improve the quality of these products and expand their distribution.

John is also pursuing an M.S. degree and his research is studying a possible new source of late gas formation in cheese. The formation of biogenic amines produces carbon dioxide and is believed by CDR staff to be one cause of late gas formation in some cheeses. John is looking into what is causing this gas production and possible strategies to mitigate it, such as enzymes or adjunct cultures.

“These scholarships from Nelson-Jameson help support graduate students that are working on new innovations, and we know that more trained students are needed by the dairy industry for technical positions,” said John Lucey, CDR Director. “We are delighted to partner with Nelson-Jameson on this initiative.”

As part of the scholarship, both students can be awarded $10,000 over the course of two years. Nelson-Jameson established the scholarship in 2021 to support the advancement of dairy science knowledge at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that is being conducted by CDR staff/faculty.

“Nelson-Jameson is proud to continue to support the important work of the Center for Dairy Research and all they do for the industry,” said Mat Bartowiak, Nelson-Jameson Director of Strategic Relationships. “There is great shared alignment in the pursuit of helping the industry to create safe, quality food, and seek out new innovations to push us collectively forward. We are excited to see what important work Maggie and John accomplish in their pathways towards careers in the industry.”