Food Science Senior Spotlight - Alexandra Neikirk

Alexandra Neikirk

Hometown: Smithfield, Virginia 

Major: Food Science

Minors: Italian

Why did you choose Purdue Food Science: Touring the department and seeing how small/close-knit everyone was.

What made your Purdue experience great?: Meeting some of my best friends, seeing how much I have learned and grown, and having so many opportunities.

Favorite memory of your time at Purdue: Making the Boiler Chip ice cream over the summer.

Alexandra pouring caramel into ice cream mix while working on the Boiler Chips Ice Cream project

Favorite club/organization: Food Entrepreneurship and Manufacturing Institute (FEMI)

Favorite spot on campus: Leaps Coffee

Favorite social activity: Drinking coffee and chatting

What other activities or organizations did you participate in while at Purdue?: Student Lead for FEMI, International Agriculture Ambassador

Places you have been as a Purdue student: I studied abroad in Milan, Italy for a semester. I always wanted to do this before I started at Purdue, and this experience led me to pursue an Italian minor. 

I also interned at the Aspiring Scientists Summer Internship Program at George Mason University doing biomedical research, and with FEMI at Purdue doing projects on food microbiology, research and development, and many more miscellaneous things.

Alexandra in Italy

Favorite Purdue Tradition: Fountain run

Favorite thing about Purdue Food Science and/or the College of Agriculture: I love how small the Department of Food Science is. It creates a sense of familiarity that has helped me greatly in my classes!

Favorite faculty or staff member: Allison Kingery, Managing Director of FEMI

Biggest accomplishments at Purdue: One of my biggest accomplishments is my involvement in the development of Boiler Chips Ice Cream. I am also proud of my study abroad experience.

Alexandra with Boiler Chips Ice Cream at a Purdue Football Game

Favorite class: FS 491- Boilermaker Sauces and Pickles. In this class we were able to plan, develop and produce fermented hot sauces from the farm to table. It was such a rewarding and fun experience to learn about all the aspects of developing a product!

Advice for underclassmen: Don’t be afraid to try something new! It may seem so cliche, but the best experiences I’ve had were while doing something uncomfortable in the moment

Biggest takeaway from your time at Purdue: Never back down, and never give up

Long term career goals: The long term goal is to be able to make cheese somewhere in Italy.

Alexandra with a classmate touring a Parmesan cheese facility in Italy