Tanner Coenen

Tanner Coenen, a junior majoring in Culinary Food Science, is finding ways to advance his career through Iowa State University.

Since middle school, Coenen has taken an interest in food science classes. When it was time to decide where to attend college, it was a no-brainer: Iowa State was the winner.

“When I came to visit, I just really loved it,” Coenen said. “ I loved the small-town feel but on a big campus. I fell in love with the campus and knew the program had been pretty good for what I wanted to do. So I decided to come here.”

In his time at Iowa State, Coenen had the opportunity to intern at Masters Food Gallery, a cheese manufacturer in Wisconsin, where he worked in food quality and safety. This summer, Coenen will be working on research and development at Casey’s headquarters in Ankeny.

The internships Coenen has done will help him reach his career goal of working in research and development.

“Internships have given me more insights into what the field looks like outside of school. You learn a lot in school but don’t know what it’s like [in the industry],” he said.

Additionally, Coenen finished his first year as a College of Human Sciences ambassador. As an ambassador, he represents the College of Human Sciences at recruitment events. He gets to share his experience in a positive and realistic view with prospective students and guests.

“My favorite experience is meeting with [potential] food science students and being able to talk with people of similar interests and trying to get them to follow your path and share your experience to help better their academic career,” he said.

Coenen, drawing from his own experience, has advice for new students preparing to enter Iowa State.

“I would say the biggest thing is getting involved and meeting new people. My first semester, I was shy and standoffish and didn’t know many people,” he said. “ Eventually, I started going to clubs and talking to my advisor more. Through that, I could meet more like-minded people, which became much easier.”

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