Student Reflection: Alyssa Frickson

November 27, 2018

By Alyssa Frickson

Alyssa is a senior majoring in bioproducts and biosystems engineering who's expecting to graduate in May 2019.

alyssa frickson

I grew up about twenty minutes from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus and had convinced myself that I would never go to college so close to home. However, after touring the campus here at the U, I knew I had found the perfect fit. I had always been interested in anything related to STEM, as I loved solving problems using technical skills. So naturally, I set my sights on engineering.

I initially started out on a path towards a chemical engineering degree, but after the first semester, I started to question if that major was right for me. I heard someone mention their studies within the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering at a club meeting, and it sparked my interest enough to the point of me requesting more information from my academic advisor. I officially made the transition from chemical engineering to studying bioproducts and biosystems engineering between my freshman and sophomore year.

Everything that was missing in my previous major, I was able to find in BBE. I loved that there was such an emphasis put on finding “green” alternatives to traditional, but potentially harmful processes. I also enjoyed meeting like-minded people within our major and department. I was able to participate in opportunities I would not have found elsewhere. I was an undergraduate research assistant for Professor Dhama Kodali, who was and still is a mentor for me. The lab experience gave me hands on experience and knowledge that has helped me to pursue further learning in my future. I have been a BBE Ambassador since my sophomore year and have loved every minute of it and am excited to continue with the group until I graduate.

I am proud to be a part of BBE and am thrilled to have been the department's outreach assistant for the past year. I have been able to share my experiences with prospective students and assist with numerous events. I really like sharing BBE with others so that this major can continue to grow as the efforts we work towards within BBE and sustainable systems management (another major in this department) will be critical in bettering our world. As a senior in BBE, I would encourage current students to get involved and step out of your comfort zone when opportunities arise. Embrace the new experiences only available through our incredible department.

I interned at Land O’Lakes this past summer and am excited to have accepted a full time position within the company upon graduation. During the summer, I learned all about the operations of a feed additive manufacturing facility that was located in Neosho, Missouri. I helped facilitate multiple projects that were an application of things I had learned in BBE, including leading a sustainability project within the plant.

For my full time role, I will be part of one of their rotational programs, working as a talent acceleration program associate to learn more about the supply chain and operations of the company over two years. I will be located in one of their many manufacturing locations somewhere in the United States for the first year and then will get the chance to work in its corporate headquarters for my second year in the program.

I cannot wait to start my career at Land O’Lakes after I graduate in May 2019 with a Bachelor in Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering. I look forward to being a part of such an amazing company that shares the same values that I do and is committed to sustainability.