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Move over, Willy Wonka

These Blue Hens have parlayed their UDairy experience into cool careers in food

Liz, ANR15, and Josephine, EHD17, Vacchiano

Sister Act

Liz Vacchiano, ANR15, a seeingeye dog instructor, and Josephine Vacchiano, EHD17, a middle school science teacher, worked at UDairy Creamery together while on campus.

Now, the sisters are taking their ice cream-making skills to a store on their family’s eponymous New Jersey farm. On the weekends, they make ice cream cakes, sandwiches and popsicles using ingredients grown on their land.

When do they sleep?

“We get that question a lot,” Liz laughs, adding that ice cream is “the best reward for hard work.”

Condiment King

His days regularly begin with a taste of mayo. As principal scientist with Kraft Heinz, Chris Carroll, ANR15, brings sauces from concept to commercialization.

His UDairy mentors? “Recognized my creative spark before I did.”

Dan Meany, ANR09

Milk Man

There are no cows at the 100-year-old Hy-Point Dairy Farm in Wilmington, Del. Instead, Dan Meany, ANR09—one of the former students responsible for the founding of UDairy—and his family of Blue Hen alumni pick up milk produced by cows on farms throughout Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and they process it to make it safe—35,000 gallons per day, 24 hours per day. They also turn this milk into an ice cream mix used by dozens of regional creameries—including, for many years, UDairy.

Crunch Time

How do leading snack brands get the perfect flavor for their chips?

In part, thanks to Alyssa Chircus, ANR13. A senior food scientist with Fuchs North America, she cooks up options, like a custom barbecue.

Melissa Ollerenshaw, ANR20

Talk Turkey To Me 

Are your fudge swirls evenly distributed? Is the texture swoonworthy? And, most importantly, does your ice cream taste great?

If so, you may have Melissa Ollerenshaw, ANR20, to thank. A quality assurance specialist for Turkey Hill, the UDairy veteran

ensures production and safety standards are met in the company’s Conestoga, Pa., plant. This involves microbiology and, yes, taste testing—up to 80 samples a week.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Ollerenshaw says. “I still geek out over my job.”

Soup's On

His career path was written not in the stars, but in the Spaghettios.

A brand manager for Campbell Soup Company, Keith Medwid, ANR17, works on new product innovation.

His teamwork skills? Honed at UDairy: “We were a family.”

Melinda Shaw, BE23M

Cool Teach

As the founding manager turned director of UDairy, Melinda Shaw, BE23M, trained hundreds of students in the fine art of ice cream making—and she found fulfillment in the process. Now, she’s bringing her tasty tutelage to a wider audience. In the studio of her recently opened Hangry Bear Creamery in Kennett Square, Pa., customers sign up for two-hour ice cream-making sessions—boozy milkshakes optional. It’s part fun; part food-science lesson, Shaw says, adding: “Ice cream is magic.”

Secret Agent

A supervisory investigator with the FDA, Myra Gemmill, ANR09, works on smuggling investigations and ensures food products coming into Baltimore Harbor from around the globe are tested for microbiological hazards and other threats.

Luke Gargiso

Out of this World

As a student, he invented UDairy’s Grandma’s Gone Coco-nuts flavor. Now, he does that same work on a global level. A senior product development scientist for Mars Inc., Luke Gargiso, ANR16, conceives of treats, creates prototypes and then scales them.

He’s brought to life some of your favorite frozen indulgences (hello, SNICKERS Brownie Bar).

“People warned me I’d get sick of eating this stuff, but not yet,” he says. “I’m in the right place.”

Pop Science

It’s like CSI for soda. Jake Mallon, ANR20, does forensics for PepsiCo., meaning he conducts high-tech testing (gas chromatography, anyone?) on beverage samples from around the world to ensure quality and safety.

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