Connections: Land O’Lakes and the CFANS Mentor program

Thursday, November 15, 2018 - 4:45pm

Lucy Hansen, ‘18 B.S. on her CFANS graduation day, joined by (L-R) commencement speaker and former Land O'Lakes CEO Chris Policinski, fellow mentee Sierra Williamson, U of M President Eric Kaler.

Land O’Lakes employees can have lasting impact on U of M students, as well as the future of the food and agricultural industries

200 students learning from the pros: Each year, an award-winning mentor program at the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS), connects about 200 students with mentors from CFANS-related fields. These mentors are industry professionals who share valuable career insights and guidance that can help students explore career paths, build networks, and enhance skills.

One mentee’s story: For example, Lucy Hansen, a 2018 food science and nutrition graduate of CFANS, was a three-time program participant. After her initial visit to Land O'Lakes as part of a food microbiology class and a tour with the U of M Food Science Club, Hansen was matched with a Land O’Lakes mentor. In the third year, she was matched with Becky Wahlund, director of the Land O’Lakes Test Kitchens.

Lucy Hansen on her Land O’Lakes mentor experience:

“I really enjoyed learning about [Becky Wahlund’s] work. It seems like a fun challenge to use food science to solve consumer problems, and I feel fortunate to have an opportunity to talk with Becky about her role and tour the kitchens.

She was also very helpful in helping me determine my plans after graduation. I was feeling conflicted about where to attend graduate school.

Becky encouraged me to think about where I saw myself in the future, and which university would get me closer to that goal. I had never thought of it like that before, but it was a true “aha!” moment for me, and ultimately led to my decision to stay at the U of M to obtain my M.S. in food science. I have never doubted that I made the right decision, and my mentor helped me arrive there.”

Continuing impact: Now in her first semester of working toward an M.S. in food science, Hansen hopes to work in product development and reformulation to create healthy, sustainably-sourced food products. She sees the mentor program as being extremely beneficial to her professional development.

Click here to learn more about the CFANS mentoring program

Photo: Brady Willette Photography