When we received word that Department of Kinesiology and Health alumna Taylor Pond worked at America’s Test Kitchen, we were so excited! We asked Taylor to tell us all about her first experiences on the job:
What is your current job title and employer?
Senior Kitchen Assistant, America’s Test Kitchen
Describe what you do at your job:
As a Senior Kitchen Assistant, I source and shop ingredients for recipe testing for America’s Test Kitchen TV show, Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, and Cook’s Country Magazine. I maintain the kitchen, and participate in projects to help the company go more green (such as creating more efficient ways to recirculate ingredients and composting.)
I get to work with some of the best cooks in the country to facilitate their recipe development. While shooting TV, I am directly responsible for finding and purchasing the ingredients which you see on the screen.
What degree did you earn at Miami University?
Major: Nutrition and Dietetics
Did you go on to graduate from any other colleges after Miami?
Yes, I attended the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone during the 2014-15 school year, ultimately earning a Culinary Certificate
Were there any Miami professors that were influential in your college career?
Nancy Parkinson has been an ongoing mentor to me. She makes the effort to understand her students, their strengths and weaknesses. She has had a major impact in helping me to shape the trajectory my education and career. Her advice and mentorship have led me to places I didn’t even realize existed. I cannot thank Professor Parkinson enough for her guidance and support.
What experiences at Miami helped you to succeed after graduation?
The opportunity to manage the kitchen during the Spring 2013 Nutrition Conference, as part of my KNH 203 class, and under the guidance of Professor Nancy Parkinson, was a highly developmental experience for me. Not only did this experience get me thinking about the culinary industry as a possibility, it made me realize that I had a passion for management.
I interned with NACUFS at UConn during the summer of 2014. This experience was a whirlwind, allowing me to dive deeply into every aspect of university dining services (from purchasing to making omelettes). It has set me apart during the application process, because it demonstrates a well-rounded background.
Finally, my study abroad experience was a pivotal point in life. I studied in Oviedo, Spain during the Spring 2012 semester. My experience was full of food, music and “heart-to-heart” conversations with my host mom about two main topics: the importance of career, and the impact of food on health. I came back from the experience fully-committed to Dietetics as a major, and excited to see how I can positively impact the lives of others through food and nutrition.
What made your Miami experience unique?
My Miami experience was unique because of the people I got to know. Throughout my four years, I formed bonds with people in many diverse majors from different backgrounds. I was exposed to the arts, languages, politics and religions. I found inspiration in their dedication to academic success, paired with their desire to learn from those who surround them. I discovered who I was and who I wanted to become at Miami- partially through trial and error, and partially through finding people and an environment in which I could grow without constraints.
The Nutrition and Dietetics program was very thorough. It provided hands-on experiences in almost every realm of nutrition: from food systems management to clinical dietetics. It gives any student with an interest in nutrition a unique opportunity to find their niche at a very early stage. I received excellent guidance every step of the way. The professors are highly dedicated to teaching the students in a way that is practical, ultimately giving the students the tools they need to, one day, apply that which they have learned. I left the program feeling that I had been challenged in a highly developmental way.
For more information about programs offered through the Department of Kinesiology and Health, please visit: http://miamioh.edu/ehs/academics/departments/knh/index.html