Bakery Science Club members with Royals commentator Rex Hudler
Upon walking into Shellenberger Hall on any random Tuesday night you are met with the sugary, vanilla scent of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. Continue down the hallway and turn right at the end, and you will see a busy bunch of bakers weighing out flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Others will be scooping cookies, loading trays into the oven, or carefully placing the fresh-baked products into bags. Later in the evening, all the club members line the hallway to eat dinner together and catch up on each other’s lives while the President of the club gives announcements.
Officers in Las Vegas at the International Baking Industry Exposition!
Although club attendance is not a requirement of the Bakery Science major, it is beneficial to become a member, in my opinion. I’ve made some of my best friends in college through bake club, and learned many practical baking skills that were mentioned in classes, or not discussed at all. Besides, who doesn’t like being around hundreds of cookies and cakes and loaves of bread? (Non-bakery science students are always welcome! 3 of our officers this year, including the president, are not bakery science majors.)
Also, bake club members have the opportunity to travel to the annual BakingTech conference in Chicago every February. Expenses are paid for by 80 hours of club time per member attending! In Chicago, students have the opportunity to attend educational seminars, network with baking professionals, interview and make connections for internship and job opportunities, and explore the Windy City. Students visited Kendall College in 2016 and were taught to plate fancy desserts and learned more about product development and baking from a pastry chef’s perspective. The year before, we visited Newly Weds Foods, a producer of English muffins, bread crumbs, and their historically famous ice cream roll.
I know many freshman students decide not to attend the BakingTech conference because they either are worried about not getting enough hours, not knowing many friends to travel with, or are nervous about the trade floor or networking with industry members. I felt that way too. However, I’m glad I did go, and I would encourage any members (of any club) to attend events like this. Going to Chicago freshman year helped me better understand the purpose of my major, the job positions available to me, and strengthened my new friendships with other bake club members. So, if you are on the fence about attending a conference or large event for your major, I would encourage you to take the bull by the horns and go! It will provide you many benefits that may not be immediately available. And, if all else fails, you will still come back with some nice free pens and other giveaways, like hats, mugs, and aprons.
In conclusion, club attendance and going to large events sponsored by said clubs is critical to realizing your full potential as an undergraduate. You will have the opportunity to learn from fellow students, industry professionals, and to build stronger relationships with your professors. You will learn practical skills relevant to the industry and strengthen them over the 4 or so years of college life. And if anyone reading wants to come check out the Bakery Science Club, our doors are always open!