Who Are We?

Meet the group!

Lily L. Yang

Lily L Yang (mind the “L”), consistently refers to herself in the 3rd person. Her magnificent Taiwanese hair – which has a life and body of its own hails from the great state of California. She once received a B.S. in Food Science from UC Davis before working for a few years at the USDA. Currently a PhD candidate – after obtaining a MS in Food Science – at Virginia Tech studying Food Science (specializing in food safety / food microbiology, risk communication / assessment, consumer behavior, and E. coli  in beef), Lily consumes inordinate amounts of food (usually noodles or dumplings), while randomly lifting heavy things and putting them down on an X, Y, and Z axis, while also simultaneously perusing the world wide interwebs for fabulously adorable pictures of puppies, hedgehogs, bunnies, bumblebees, Catbugs, Perry, and other such delightful fluffy things! Hellbent on world domination, Lily will endlessly rage to music +180bpm. (Follow her on Twitter! @glozu4ia)

Nicole Arnold

Nicole is a PhD student in Food Science at Virginia Tech, with research focusing on consumer perceptions associated with various food processing technologies that enhance safety and quality. As a Raleigh, NC native, Nicole has a BS and MS in Food Science from NC State University where her research involved food safety risk communication and education. Go Pack! In her spare time, you can find Nicole at group fitness classes or partaking in food and alcohol-related activities (i.e. wine tastings, beer festivals, food truck rodeos, etc.). It’s all about balance! (Follow her on Twitter! @Hayy_Arnold)

Erica Kenney

Erica grew up in the Bay Area, California and was stoked when she realized people could get a whole college degree in her favorite thing–food! She completed a B.S. in Food Science from UC Davis and a M.S. in Food Science from the University of Georgia. Her thesis project examined the emotions of coffee drinkers with a focus on coffee connoisseurs. She currently works as a sensory analyst with the consumer & product insights team at a major winery. Part of her job is the difficult task of tasting wines every day to make sure they’re good 😉 In her free time she’s pigging out on fruits and vegetables, doing her best to acrylic paint, and ordering the weirdest thing on the menu. (Follow her on Twitter! @Ericalovesfood)

Kelsey Tenney

Kelsey is originally from Minnesota and received her B.S. in Food Science from Purdue University. After that, she attained an M.S. in Food Science from Penn State where her research focused on mitigating the taste of bitter for pediatric medications. She now lives in Boston as a food scientist for Chew. Kelsey loves eating cookie dough by the spoonful, collecting cookbooks, and watching old episodes of Top Chef. You can follow along with her adventures in the kitchen on her blog Appeasing a Food Geek! (Follow her on Twitter! @Kelsey_Tenney)

John Gleeson PhD

John is an Irish transplant in Los Angeles, CA working as a postdoctoral scientist whose expertise lies in nutrition, nutrient absorption and intestinal health. He completed his BSc in Nutraceutical for Health and Nutrition in Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and earned his doctorate in Nutritional Pharmacology from University College Dublin (UCD), can you tell he’s a Dublin boy? John has clocked up a lot of experience in Social Media management in eCommerce and within the Institute of Food Technologists Student Association (IFTSA). He has been actively involved in science communication through IFTSA, American Chemical Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and through regional and local events helping break down barriers in science. When he’s not in the lab you may find him on Twitter (@JohnGleekson).

Roxi Smith

Roxi Smith is a native Virginian and an undergraduate student pursuing a Food Science and Technology B.S. at Virginia Tech. She has competed in the IFTSA MARS Inc Product Development Competition and made it to the Finals for the past two years in a row. She is still unsure of what she wants to do with her degree, but she knows for sure that food science is the place to be. She loves engaging in challenging conversations surrounding food safety, food ethics, and science communication. In her free time she dances on an urban dance crew, geeks over new products in the grocery store, and coos at pug pictures online.

Morgan Rease

Morgan has a BS in Food Science from UC Davis, where he specialized in food chemistry and developed a caffeine addiction. He currently works as a food scientist for a start-up company in the San Francisco Bay area (which isn’t helping the aforementioned caffeine dependence). Thankfully, Morgan loves coffee. Outside of business hours, Morgan is a passionate cook and continues to experiment at home – lab notebook and everything.

Lindsay Murphy

After living all over the United States, Lindsay attended the University of Tennessee and received her B.S. in Food Science and liked it so much she stuck around for a M.S.. Her thesis work focused on the food safety issue of Economically Motivated Adulteration (think 2008 Melamine and Milk crisis in China) while her assistantship focused on food safety education out reach for middle schoolers.  She graduated in 2016 and now works as a Food Safety Manager at a large scale bakery. (Follow her on Twitter! @lmurphy9)

John Frelka

Hailing from central California, John completed his PhD at Ohio State University studying how processing affects the physical properties of different food products and is now working in the food industry. John has a B.S. and M.S. in Food Science from UC Davis where he studied both consumer food science and food microbiology. As a self-proclaimed nerd, John spends his free time reading comic books and playing board games. According to John, the major food groups are coffee, beer, and buffalo chicken dip. (Follow him on Twitter! @madfoodscience)

Matt Teegarden

Matt is a PhD student at Ohio State, where he also finished his B.S. and M.S. degrees in food science.  His current research aims to understand how berries might impact oral health.  Outside of the lab, Matt enjoys cooking (that’s a given!), outdoorsy activities, and getting his hands on as many sweets as possible! (Follow him on Twitter! @teeinthegarden)

Kathryn Haydon

Kathryn is a native Texan with a B.S. in Biology from the University of North Texas, and is currently finishing her M.S. in Food Science at the University of Arkansas, where she will be starting a Ph.D. in Plant Science in August! She studies impacts of post-harvest processing on rice quality now, and will be studying the genetic basis of rice quality in the future. She spends way too much time snuggling with her cat, watching Netflix with her husband, and tweeting (@kathrynhaydon!). You wish you could come to her house for dinner tonight, because she’s probably cooking something delicious.

Laura Willis

Laura is a serious international food enthusiast. She has worked in Argentina making wine, studied food science in the US, Denmark, and Helsinki, and has spent as much time as possible traveling and trying every kind of food she can find. Some of her favorite food destinations are Jordan and Greece, though nothing yet will beat asado in Argentine. She currently works in Chicago for the social enterprise saffron company Rumi Spice, which is working to promote peace and empower women in Afghanistan through saffron cultivation.

Tamar Serapian

Tamar received her Masters of Food Science from Chapman University and completed her thesis on the effects of irradiation on strawberries post-harvest. When she’s not working out and staying active with friends she can be found reading a good novel poolside or at the beach in sunny California.