Maelyn Thome

In the future, Maelyn Thome hopes to work in developing dairy-free alternatives for ice cream or in a sensory evaluation lab. When she is not studying, Maelyn enjoys reading, listening to music, singing, and spending time outdoors. 

Get to know Maelyn

  • Major: Food science
  • Class: Sophomore
  • Hometown: Waterloo, Iowa (Black Hawk County)
  • Career goal: Develop dairy-free alternatives for ice cream or work in a sensory evaluation lab
  • Clubs/activities: Food Science Club, CHS Ambassadors
  • Awards/honors: Ethel McKinley Bliss Scholarship, Dean’s list
  • Favorite place on campus: Lookout room in the Student Innovation Center
  • Most influential ISU mentor: Kate Gilbert
  • Favorite class: CHEM 231L, Laboratory in Elementary Organic Chemistry 
  • Why Iowa State: The welcoming nature and involvement opportunities  

Ice cream enthusiast, Maelyn Thome, seeks to showcase her passion for food science

Maelyn Thome, a sophomore in food science, grew up spending an ample amount of time in the kitchen with her dad. The two often bonded by trying out new recipes together, especially as they both take a particular liking to Italian food.

“Incorporating all the ingredients and seeing how they all reacted with each other was just amazing to the both of us,” Maelyn said.

After attending a STEM camp in middle school, Maelyn was sure food science was the path for her. When it came to choosing a college, the welcoming nature of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University greatly contributed to her final decision.

Since coming to Iowa State, Maelyn has been involved as a College of Human Sciences ambassador and has participated in the Food Science Club, where she has gained valuable leadership skills and learned more about what the food science industry offers.

“We share our love for food and our passion for food science, and we also get to listen to other career and industry professionals talk about what they do,” Maelyn said. “The [Food Science Club] helps us to learn about careers in food science that aren’t traditional career routes.”

In addition to club involvement, Maelyn also works as an undergraduate research assistant under Shannon Coleman and Kate Gilbert. Their team works to build education modules for smaller food companies and processors to help them comply with food safety guidelines and regulations.

“[Working as an undergraduate research assistant] is helping me to present information in a professional way, which is definitely helpful for the future,” Maelyn said.

Maelyn has a great love for ice cream, specifically chocolate chip cookie dough. She wants to incorporate this love in her future career, working to develop dairy-free alternatives in ice cream production. She also is interested in food safety and developing safe ways to prevent cross contamination for those with severe allergies. 

“I  don’t [have allergies] myself, but a lot of my friends do,” Maelyn said. “I just want to be able to help them in the future.”

Maelyn looks forward to her future in food science and the unlimited opportunities the industry provides.

“The thing that gets me the most excited about food science is that every day is different,” Maelyn said. “I don’t really like to be stuck in routine; I really like to change it up a lot. With food science, I think you have the opportunity to do that.”

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