At Milwaukee Area Technical College since 2013, Marie Colmerauer has developed curriculum for food science technology courses and teaches in the school’s chemical technology program, training students to become lab technicians or operators in the chemical, water, and food and beverage industries. Colmerauer also teaches general studies courses, including nutrition and biochemistry. “I try to demonstrate the following values as I interact with my students: organization, enjoyment, integrity, safety, kindness and providing challenging material in an atmosphere that promotes equality, respect and constructive feedback,” she says.
Tell us about your work. Who is your audience? What need does this work help serve?
Many of the students at MATC are the first in their families to go to college, and their goal is to prepare for a job or to make a career change. My work focuses on providing the hands-on training they need to obtain the skills necessary to get that job and contribute to the local Milwaukee and surrounding economy. Many of my students also continue their education after earning an Associate’s degree from MATC by pursuing a bachelor’s in science degree.
What inspired you to undertake this work or project?
I started at Milwaukee Area Technical College in 2013 and began to develop food science technology curriculum for courses offered at MATC. I was inspired to undertake this role since my background is in food science and nutrition, Milwaukee has a strong and growing food and beverage industry, and my trained students earn living wages with great benefits when they land a job. As of today, the chemical technology program incorporates food analysis experiments and we hope to expand. Another inspiration for this role is that I can also teach nutrition courses, so I utilize both my CFS and NDTR credentials.
What do you personally find most rewarding about your efforts?
The most rewarding part of my job is helping students succeed in class and in reaching their goals, like landing an internship or job, graduating, or transferring to a university.
What about food, diet, nutrition or health drew you to this field?
I graduated with a degree in food science and nutrition. When I entered the workforce as a food product developer and worked in that role for many years, I realized that I did not want to focus on food science or nutrition. I wanted to have a career where I could utilize both of those areas of expertise. I was surprised, and continue to be, that there are not many careers paths for someone that has a passion for the food industry, including processing and manufacturing, and dietetics. I feel very lucky that I am in my current position at MATC. However, I am optimistic there will be more roles that combine nutrition/dietetics and food science in the future!