In the (Test) Kitchen with Kathryne Schwartz '09
Posted: October 14, 2008
Usually equipped with microscopes, goggles, and Petri dishes, biology major Kathryne Schwartz '09 found herself quite at home among ovens, pots, and pans while interning at the test kitchens of Good Housekeeping magazine.
"It was the best summer job I've ever had," said Schwartz, whose love of food and fascination with immunology and allergies (she herself is allergic to peanuts) has led her to pursue an interest in food science. After taking a food science course through the Five College Consortium at UMass Amherst, she wanted to learn more about it hands-on. Schwartz researched opportunities on the Internet and found the Good Housekeeping Research Institute in New York City, then emailed whomever she could to find the right contacts.
Schwartz connected with Susan Westmoreland, food director at Good Housekeeping, and sent in her résumé and a great reference from MHC biology professor Rachel Fink to win the internship. Usually Good Housekeeping looks for more culinary experience when hiring interns for their test kitchens, but Schwartz said her knowledge of molecular biology complemented the traditional expertise of Good Housekeeping's test kitchen team, providing them insight with tidbits of chemistry and biology trivia. (Did you know putting lemon juice in green tea increases the effectiveness of the antioxidants?)
While interning, Schwartz wrote three articles and contributed to one recipe, all to be featured in upcoming issues of Good Housekeeping. Since the internship was unpaid, Schwartz turned to the CDC, which provided the funding she needed through the Elizabeth and William Lauder Journalism Fund Internship Award.
"Without [the award] I probably wouldn't have been able to have this internship, but I'm glad I did," she said. "I know now not to settle for any job in the future that doesn't make me happy."
The internship also helped Schwartz realize her real calling lies with the goggles and microscopes. She has applied for a Fulbright Scholarship and hopes to travel to Italy for postgraduate studies in molecular nutrition or food science--although her career as a chef isn't over yet. She still sees cooking classes in her future.