Volunteering as Guy Fieri for Food Science Club during Howdy Week to get new students interested in FSC

James Jeffrey ’24, who graduates with a bachelor’s degree from the Department of Food Science and Technology on the industry track,, found food science “purely out of circumstance” but has never questioned his ultimate decision to make it his field of study.

“I was looking to change my major from Animal Science after my freshman year and saw that Food Science courses looked interesting, he said. “I haven’t looked back since!”

Instructors who made a difference

Jeffrey said that while all his professors have shown him an open door, Matthew Taylor, Ph.D., and Rebecca Creasey Buckley, Ph.D., were the most influential during his time at Texas A&M.

“Dr. Taylor has always been happy to lend an ear when I have been stressing over decisions to make post-graduation and helped set me on track to apply to graduate programs,” Jeffrey said. “He took the time to help me understand my own interests in pursuing graduate school and guided me in researching professors and programs while applying.”

At LSU for the 2024 Regional College Bowl Competition

“Dr. Buckley has been an incredible advisor, professor and advocate for me throughout my time in FSTC. I am incredibly grateful to her, and she was always an email or text away when I had questions or needed advice. In times of stress or confusion, she has lent me her wisdom and aided me in making the best choices for myself and for my career.”

“James has overcome multiple challenges during his time at Texas A&M, Unlike some other students, James has used the lessons he learned from overcoming those challenges to seek out professional development opportunities, mentor new students in the Department of Food Science and Technology and pursue further educational opportunities beyond his comfort zone.” said Dr. Buckley an Instructional Assistant Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology . “His self-initiative and dedication to his work and academic studies is admirable, but even more importantly, he cares about empowering other students with the tools they need to also be successful in their own personal and professional lives.”

About the Food Science Club Activities-

“I felt like my knowledge from my classes flourished and was being actively used and applied”

2023-2024 Food Science Club Officers (served as VP)

Lessons for success in food science

Jeffrey said his experiences in food science taught him you get back what you put in.

2024 Regional College Bowl Competition (James -Captain of team)

 “Once I got involved in as many food science activities as I could — being an officer for FSC, participating in College Bowl and Product Development teams, working on the Hot Fill Line for FSTC 485 and internships — I felt like my knowledge from my classes flourished and was being actively used and applied,” he said. “I feel like I truly got the most out of my time here at A&M in Food Science because I made sure to involve myself in as much as possible.” 

He said he will carry those experiences and the lessons learned as he begins work toward his master’s degree in food science at the University of Maryland this fall. “I’ll be studying microbial diversity and interactions in grape production and fermentation,” he said.
“I’m incredibly excited to take the food science foundations I learned at Texas A&M and continue to build upon them by doing impactful research.” 

Advice to other food science students

Not surprisingly, Jeffrey said his advice to others wanting to become involved in food science is to get involved in whatever opportunities become available.   

Participating in an industry tour at Parker Food Group with the FSTC 481 class

“You have the opportunity to make yourself known, so long as you take the time to meet and get to know your peers and professors. That will go a long way in the future when you’re building connections and getting ready for your career.”

“My advice is to get involved and say yes to as much as you can!”

Finally, he offered one more piece of advice — to get involved with the Food Science Club. 
“Being involved in the club helped set me up for success,” he said.

James graduated in May 2024. Congratulations and Best wishes James!