You are here: Home / News / Graduate student finds second home at FAPC

Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center

Graduate student finds second home at FAPC

Deepak Kumar, an Oklahoma State University Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center graduate student traveled from India to pursue a master’s degree in food science and found a second home at FAPC.

By Melanie Jackson, FAPC Communications Graduate Assistant

(Stillwater, Okla. – June 13, 2017) An Oklahoma State University Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center graduate student traveled from India to pursue a master’s degree in food science and found a second home at FAPC.

Deepak Kumar, a FAPC graduate research assistant, said he chose OSU to work with Dani Bellmer, FAPC food process engineer, because of their similar research interests.

“My thesis was on flavor modification of algae protein,” Kumar said. “Our objective was to develop a cheap and sustainable source of protein with better sensory properties. Spirulina is basically microalgae, which has a high protein content, but one of the concerning factors is that it has a bad flavor. So, we wanted to modify the flavor using encapsulation.”

With this research, Kumar received first place in the OSU Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition and will represent OSU at the national competition.

“I had a great journey working with Dr. Bellmer,” Kumar said. “We worked on different scripts and wanted to try different ways to express our research to a lay audience. It was tough in the initial stages, but by practicing I was able to gain confidence and somehow made it.”

Working with students like Deepak is a real pleasure, Bellmer said.

“He is motivated, enthusiastic and is constantly looking for ways to better prepare himself for a future job in the food industry,” she said.

In addition to research, Kumar had the opportunity to gain industry experience through an internship with Head Country Inc. in Ponca City, Oklahoma.

“I’m helping the quality assurance manager to develop and maintain a food safety plan,” he said.

Kumar said his combined research and industry experience helped prepare him for a future career focusing on research and development in the food industry.

“I had the opportunity to work with incredible people here,” Kumar said. “I learned a lot from them and the experience and knowledge that I’ve gained from FAPC will help me go out and face the industry with a lot of confidence.”

FAPC, a part of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, is celebrating its 20-year anniversary in 2017. Since its inception in January 1997, the center’s research laboratories, pilot-processing facilities, educational programs and seminars have kept food and agricultural processors and entrepreneurs on the forefront of cutting-edge value-added processing and technology.

“The work culture is amazing here,” he said. “People are friendly. They are very helpful and kind. I always feel like I’m surrounded by positive energy. FAPC has been more like a second home for me.

“It feels great to be a part of the celebration,” Kumar said. “I’m very sure FAPC will grow bigger and help many industry people and I’m hoping to see that in the future.”

For more information about Kumar and his time at FAPC, view the Faces of FAPC video at https://youtu.be/fqTVM0OTt0g.

- ### -

Oklahoma State University is a modern land-grant university that prepares students for success. OSU has more than 36,000 students across its five-campus system and more than 25,000 on its combined Stillwater and Tulsa campuses, with students from all 50 states and around 120 nations. Established in 1890, Oklahoma State has graduated more than 260,000 students who have been serving Oklahoma and the world for 125 years.