|Grad Year||2016 (BSc), 2017 (MFS)|
|Program||Bachelor of Science in Food, Nutrition, and Health, Master of Food Science|
|Major||Food and Nutritional Sciences (Double Major)|
|Occupation||Sensory & Consumer Research Technologist|
|Pronouns||She, Her, Hers|
Lauren Rappaport is a Sensory & Consumer Research Technologist with Daiya Foods. As part of the Research & Development team, she is responsible for designing, collecting, analyzing and reporting sensory & consumer data. Her role is to provide actional guidance and recommendations to cross functional teams based on consumer research and product testing as they relate to innovation, quality systems, continuous improvement and consumer insights.
How did your academic experience prepare you for your current job?
The food science program at UBC covers a wide array of topics which provided me with a very strong foundation of knowledge. The hands-on learning experiences available through the LFS program provided me with the opportunity to learn how to apply that knowledge which in turn helped set me up for success in my career. In addition, the LFS faculty puts emphasis on the importance of group projects and working with others. The skills learned through those experiences helped prepare me for my job which involves collaborating with a cross functional team.
How did you envision your career journey would be when you started university? And how did that evolve?
When I first started university, I didn't entirely know where I would end up. I knew I had a passion for science but hadn't figured out what route I wanted to pursue. I had bounced between thinking about Medicine, Physiotherapy, Dietetics among others. I started in Nutritional Sciences hoping that it would prepare me for any future science-based programs post undergrad. It was while on exchange in England in my 3rd year where I first took a food science course that focused on Sensory Evaluation. This class sparked an interest and allowed me to gain exposure to a side of the food industry that I wasn't aware of before. After returning home, I added the Food Science Major to my degree where I quickly learned that I had a passion for Research and Development and knew that was a career I wanted to pursue.
What does an average day at work look like for you?
Every day is very different in my job! However, on a typical day I attend several meetings with different teams regarding ongoing projects as well as leading and participating in tasting meetings to assist with product guidance. I also spend time coordinating and designing surveys for product testing in addition to report writing based on the data collected.
What are some accomplishments or highlights of your career that you are most proud of?
I am proud to have been involved in the development and launch of some of Daiya's recent products. I have been given the opportunity to travel around North America to test our food products with consumers to ensure the success of our products on the market.
What one piece of advice would you give to current students before they graduate?
Explore networking opportunities, gain exposure to life outside of university through coop, volunteering or work experience, get involved in campus life and take advantage of the hands-on learning experiences that are available to LFS students. Classroom learning provides a great foundation but it's really the hands on work that will help prepare you for whatever you take on post graduation. I have learned that the food industry in Vancouver is a small, tight knit community, building connections and networking can help make the transition a lot easier.