Student Profile

Jaclyn “Jackie” Newell
Class of '15

Jaclyn “Jackie” Newell is a 2015 graduate of the Illinois PSM Food Science and Human Nutrition program.  She earned her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.  Jackie’s internship was with Schreiber Foods, where she worked as a research and development intern in the processed cheese group. She is now a research and development food product development technologist at Beachbody in El Segundo, California, where she works with their Shakeology line. She states, “the hardest part of my job as a product developer is working cross functionally with sourcing and manufacturing. The PSM business course work helped me prepare for these teams, because I have a foundational understanding of project management and supply chain processes.” She also credits the program for teaching her how to relate to people that come from different backgrounds, whether that be a difference of major or culture.

Food Science & Human Nutrition

Flexibility in curriculum and career options are hallmarks of the food science and human nutrition program. Expertise in nutrition and food science, combined with business skills, provides many career options in the food, pharmaceutical, and ingredient sectors.

The food science and human nutrition faculty at Illinois are committed to delivering programs designed to provide a safe, nutritious, and affordable food supply that enhances human health. With world-class research and an internationally recognized faculty, food science and human nutrition degree programs have produced some of the world’s leading food scientists and nutritionists. 

The Illinois Professional Science Master’s (PSM) prepares graduates for positions of significant responsibility in food, pharmaceutical, and ingredient organizations. The program is designed for those who want a rigorous education in food science and nutrition but do not want to pursue a research-focused career. The Illinois PSM is best suited for those who want to combine food science and nutrition expertise with the knowledge and skills necessary to work on the business side of food organizations.

Illinois PSM students work closely with faculty and other students, including those in the research-based M.S. and Ph.D. programs. Program-sponsored events provide opportunities to meet people from business, industry, government, and other institutions to learn more about opportunities and challenges in the food science and human nutrition field.


The pervasiveness of food and allied industries means an ever-changing mix of careers options – some of tomorrow’s biggest opportunities may be in careers that don’t even exist today. Options vary widely and may include

  • food safety experts,
  • quality control analysts,
  • food engineers,
  • product and process developers,
  • technical salespersons, and
  • marketing and advertising specialists.

Illinois PSM graduates should be especially attractive candidates for positions with managerial and leadership responsibilities in food, pharmaceutical, and ingredient organizations.

With the Illinois PSM’s combined preparation in science and business, graduates should have maximum opportunity to craft unique jobs and careers. The unique internship experience embedded into the Illinois PSM should provide a competitive advantage to the program’s graduates. Career opportunities span business, industry, not-for-profit, and government organizations. 


Flexibility is a hallmark of the Illinois PSM. Each student, in consultation with an advisor, creates a customized set of courses that uniquely match his or her personal interests and individual career goals. A wide range of options is available in:

  • biochemistry,
  • sensory evaluation,
  • physiology,
  • nutrition, 
  • toxicology,
  • and others. 

For additional information or to discuss your learning and career objectives, contact Nicki Engesethmajor advisor for food science and human nutrition, at or (217) 244-6788.


2017 IL PSM Poster Showcase

Vicky Baraldi worked at Campbell Soup Company as their Beverage Product Development Intern. She did benchtop work and flavor application in the beverage department, working with brands such as V8 .






Stephen DiLiberto was a Food Science and Human Nutrition Intern this past summer for Nonni's Foods, LLC. In his role, Stephen was in charge of analysis and recommendations for a non-GMO claim and created a nutritious breakfast snack.





Rachael Geiger worked at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) as an Application of Science and Technology Intern. She implemented FSMA tracking, created marketing information and tested food and beverage formulas.





Bethany Sullivan spent her summer as a Beverage RD&A Intern for Kerry. She created and prepared beverages for internal and external demonstrations and sensory panels.






Wei-Chieh "Jesse" Tsao did two internships this summer, working as a Lipid Oxidation Intern for Abbott Nutrition and as a Research Assistant in the Engeseth Laboratory at the University of Illinois. For Abbott, Jesse performed literature reviews of existing analytical methods for lipid oxidation in emulsion systems. In the laboratory, he fried and conducted experiments to evaluate lipid oxidation of oil and food samples.

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