Brittany Towers Lewis

she/her/hers

You can find her on Instagram & TikTok @theblackfoodscientist

Education:

  • BS Food Science & Technology; The Ohio State University; 2011
  • MS Food Science; The Ohio State University; 2013

Current Job Title: Sr. Manager Product Development

What experience first got you interested in science and is that field the same one you went on to pursue?

My Dad and I have always had a love for cooking and the food network. We would watch Good Eats and Alton Brown all the time and I told him that is what I wanted to do when I got older. And here I am; a food scientist! I actually started off as a biology major and my mom told me about food science, which I had no idea existed. It took me a while to come around to it (I changed my major my junior year!) but I am so glad I did and I found something I absolutely love. 

Tell me about some people who helped or inspired you along the way, in your early training and later in your career.

Alton Brown really peaked my interest in the science of food. I have always loved food and science and didn’t really realize you could combine them into a career! Recently I have been inspired by various chefs I have watched on Youtube, especially Sohla El-Waylly. She explains the science behind what she is doing often in her videos which I love. I also love her personality on camera which really inspired me to start my Instagram/Tik Tok pages to bring a fun side to food science out to people. 

Can you tell me about any moments of doubt you had as a student or early in your career and how you dealt with it?

I thought I wanted to be a doctor when I was in school… I wasn’t really sure why but it seemed like the correct path. I was really bored with my biology major classes – I loved science but a lot of the subjects weren’t exciting to me and when I decided I didn’t want to go to medical school I didn’t know what I was going to do with my biology degree since I didn’t have a real passion for it. I am so glad I found food science because it is something that I absolutely love. I was very nervous changing my major in the middle of my third year in college but I learned that it is NEVER too late to change directions to do something that you are passionate about. Don’t be scared – just do it. It is never too late. 

Can you share two or three surprising twists or turns in your early scientific training and your later career path.

One is completely changing my major, I was nervous and excited, but when I took my first food science class I knew I made the right choice (we made ice cream in our first lab so it was a win win!). 

Another twist was what I was deciding to do after my undergrad degree. I didn’t immediately think I wanted to go to grad school; I thought about culinary school because of my passion for cooking but that was very expensive. I knew I wanted to advance my learning of food science because I had only been in the major a year and a half. Grad school was one of the best decisions I made because I expanded my knowledge and the research I conducted ultimately helped me land my first job. 

Can you give some examples of how you have incorporated your non scientific interests into your work.

I actually participated in musical theater in high school and college (shout out to Off The Lake Productions!) and after leaving college and starting a career I missed being in front of people, on a stage or in front of a camera and also the creative side of music, theater and the arts. That is another reason I started my Instagram and Tik Tok – to have fun energizing people through creative content which I have been having a blast with.

Is there some advice you could share from your own experience to help someone with a science degree who is just starting off on their own career path.

Always remember it is never too late to change your major or career path if you are going to end up in something that you are passionate about. Also, be curious. There are so many things that you can do with a science degree and you might find something you absolutely love if you do your research. I didn’t know food science existed when I went to college but I am so glad I picked a college that ended up having that major. It is ok to explore and have fun while doing it.

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