First Two Students Complete Food Science’s Brewing Science Certification

Rosa Buescher

From left: Jeyam Subbiah, head of the Department of Food Science; Loren Davis; Christopher Stuckey; and Renee Threlfall, a member of the faculty, research scientist, and director of the Certificate of Proficiency in Brewing Science plan.

Growing interest in craft beer in the state and across the country led to the creation of a certification plan at the U of A, and two students are about to be the first to complete the curriculum.

The Certificate of Proficiency in Brewing Science is housed in the Department of Food Science and incorporates courses from the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering. 

The certification plan began in 2020, and two students, Loren Davis and Christopher Stuckey, are completing the 15-hour program this semester.

Renee Threlfall, a member of the food science faculty and a research scientist with the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, the research arm of the U of A System Division of Agriculture, is director of the certification plan.

“The certification program is designed to provide U of A students with a theoretical and practical introduction to brewing and fermentation,” Threlfall said. “The goal is to engage brewing companies from across Arkansas and the region to ensure that graduates are employable and to build internship opportunities for students.”

For Davis, a biomedical engineering major graduating this spring, earning the certificate is more for hobby purposes, but it could lead to more as she pursues a Master of Business Administration starting this fall.

“I want to utilize my engineering background in the food industry,” she said. “I may go into marketing or sales in the beverage industry.”

Stuckey, a food science major from Clarkedale, Arkansas, is graduating this spring and the certificate helped open a doorway into the industry.

“I was interested in the brewing science certification as a possible route into the industry,” he said. “I recently accepted a six-month co-op internship with Anheuser-Busch InBev for its brewer trainee program in Fort Collins, Colorado.”

Davis, who is from Westwood, Kansas, interned at Core Brewing and Distilling in Springdale during the summer of 2021 and has been a restaurant server for seven years, so she has first-hand experience behind the scenes and on the front lines.

“It was a very well-rounded experience,” she said of the program. “Each professor is very passionate about their class. The Arkansas craft brewing community is incredibly inviting and willing to help wherever needed.”

For Stuckey, who also interned at Core Brewing, it began as an appreciation of the beer brewing process.

“The Introduction to Brewing Science class didn’t just outline the process and we were expected to understand it, it was a deep dive into the brewing process,” he said. “It worked to include not just the brewing side, but all facets such as the engineering principles needed and included guest speakers from the industry who gave insight on how they went about growing their market. I also appreciated how hands-on I got to be during my internship from manufacturing, brewing, sanitation and business with Core Brewing and Distilling. This was an opportunity I was able to turn into a part-time position throughout the school year following my internship.”

For students, the certification plan could be for professional or personal reasons, or both.

“It’s a fun topic and a fun industry,” Davis said. “Don’t get caught up in the science or technicalities so much that you can’t enjoy what you’re learning.”

“The courses are very interesting and applicable,” Stuckey said. “There have been multiple times where I directly used the material I learned in class in an industry setting.”

About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences: Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture. For more information about Bumpers College, visit our website, and follow us on Twitter at @BumpersCollege and Instagram at BumpersCollege.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas’ flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas’ economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the few U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.

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