Sarah Mattingly

In the future, Sarah hopes to help safely and sustainably process locally grown food products. When she isn’t studying, she enjoys spending time outdoors, reading, and traveling.

Get to know Sarah

  • Major: Food science
  • Class: Senior
  • Hometown: Garwin, Iowa (Tama County)
  • Career goal: Help safely and sustainably process locally grown food products
  • Clubs/activities: Program for Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE), ISU Student Veterans of America (SVA), FSHN Ambassador
  • Awards/honors: Dean’s list, Lee Hadley Scholarship, Diane Brandt Scholarship, Leta B. Norcross Memorial Scholarship, Diane R. McComber Scholarship, Carolyn Brown Ward Scholarship
  • Favorite place on campus: LeBaron and Hach Hall lounges
  • Most influential ISU mentor: David Appy and Paulo Fortes-Da-Silva
  • Favorite class: CHEM 231, Elementary Organic Chemistry
  • Why Iowa State: It’s the best place to learn about food!

Sarah Mattingly engages her passion for food safety and sustainability through the food science program

Sarah Mattingly has an ingrained understanding of “seed-to-table.” For five generations, her family has been involved in growing Iowa food. Over the years, she, and many of her loved ones) has been personally affected by food and water quality. When her son was two-years-old, he contracted a food-borne pathogen and grew severely ill. 

“Because [food safety] had directly affected my life, and I went through the process of nearly losing a child, it really got me thinking that if I’m going to continue to grow and sell food, I need to make sure it’s safe,” Sarah said.

Sarah first got an associate degree at Marshalltown Community College in horticulture, then transferred to Iowa State. Starting out studying agriculture and society, Sarah quickly realized she wanted to focus more on science and made the switch to food science. Being involved in the Program for Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) helped propel her forward in pursuit of sciences.

“Being around other women [in WiSE] who were pursuing these science degrees helped me have the courage to go from a social science degree to a hard science degree,” Sarah said. “That support really mattered to me.” 

Every day, Sarah commutes one hour to campus and one hour home but doesn’t let the time go to waste. She utilizes her commute time by listening to lectures presented by her professors. Regardless of distance, Sarah takes full advantage of the resources and opportunities offered through Iowa State. As a veteran of the U.S. Navy, Sarah also actively participates in ISU Student Veterans of America—an existing community that provides support to veterans in the collegiate system.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in food science, Sarah plans to apply for the food science and technology graduate program at Iowa State. In the future, she hopes to run a food processing facility to work on product improvement strategies and produce goods.

“You come [to Iowa State], and you have an expert for everything you can imagine when it comes to food,” Sarah said. “There has not been a gap in what I need to learn and somebody who can teach it to me here.”

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