In celebration of National Intern’s Day, we asked Yufan Hu, one of our incredible 2023 summer interns, to share her experience and what she’s learned in her time here at Edlong.
My name is Yufan Hu, and I am from Kunming in southwestern China. I recently graduated from Purdue with majors in Food Science, Nutritional Science, and Chemistry.
I first heard about Edlong when I was attending one of my university’s student development events. Many companies from across the food and beverage industry come there to connect with and recruit students that are about to graduate. Edlong immediately left a great impression on me because not a lot of companies are willing to hire international students. Yet, they seemed excited about what I could offer as a part of the team. That meant a lot to me.
On top of that, I could instantly tell they were different from other companies by how genuinely involved and friendly they were. The atmosphere around Edlong was just great, and I was really excited when I got this opportunity.
What have you been working on so far?
I am interning in the applications department, and right now, I am working on a project focused on reducing sodium in cheddar cheese seasoning. The goal is to see what will happen to the cheese perception if we reduce the sodium. We already know that if it doesn’t taste salty enough, people won’t buy it. So, I am looking at ways to use our flavors and aroma compounds to boost the cheese perception to impress consumers and make it healthier for them at the same time.
My communication skills and cooperation skills have improved a lot. I learned that if you want to finish a project, you can’t do it all by yourself. If I am working on a project, I need to cooperate with the sensory department, so I can see the results and see how we can improve the product.
I want to learn more from the flavorists. Having studied food science and chemistry, everything they have shown me so far is extremely interesting. Even small things like how lactones smell like coconut or how changing vanillin into ethylvanillin can dramatically increase its potency.
I am definitely hoping I get to learn more from them during my time here.
What do you enjoy about being here at Edlong?
There is a lot I really like about being at Edlong.
One of the things I love is that it is very diverse. There are a lot of people who come from different countries and bring different backgrounds, thoughts, and ideas. We also have people with very different work and educational experiences, like culinary, chemistry, etc. which I think is great.
Also, everyone is super helpful in helping me get to know my way around and sharing their experiential knowledge to help me save time and grow in my work.
The other thing is that I can tell Edlong really cares about their employees. As a new hire, they gathered everyone together to welcome us. Overall, the company is super encouraging and supportive of everyone and really believes in work-life balance.
Recently, we got to go to IFT, which is a rare opportunity for interns to get. They wanted us to see where the industry is going and give everyone a chance to learn from the experience. Even as interns, I can tell they really care about us.
How will this experience help you in your career?
It has made me realize the power and importance of flavor.
Before I decided to intern here, I hadn’t really thought about flavor that much.
But flavor plays a major role in the success of the industry. No matter how well you did on your product, you will need some flavor to boost it. It might seem like such a small component, but nothing else makes as big of a difference to the final product.
Now I’m hooked and want to keep learning more about it.
In the future, I’d like to get a flavorist certificate. Knowing now that I found a way to use both my food science and chemistry background is awesome.
Thanks to Edlong, I can try new things I never would have thought about, and I am excited to see where it all goes.
About the Author: Yufan Hu, Edlong Intern – Applications
Hello! I am Yufan Hu, a Purdue graduate from Food Science, Nutrition Science, and Chemistry majors. Working in the Application Lab this summer has been a great experience, I got the opportunity to collaborate with Edlong flavorists and sensory team in my internship project. This internship has provided me with real industry experience and prepared me for graduate study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In my free time, I like to play tennis, travel around the world, and try different food.