Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Where Are They Now?
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 19, 2013
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Related Links

March 19, 2013

Ann, tell us about your career in food innovation!

Currently I am the Sensory Program Manager at the Oregon State University Food Innovation Center, a branch experiment station located in Portland, Oregon.  I direct and design sensory evaluation taste tests and focus group projects aimed at providing strategic information for food industry clients and research oriented projects. The results of consumer testing assist clients to bring new or improved products to market.  I conduct and cooperate in multi-city consumer tests resulting in optimum product selection for different US locations and improved product packaging.  I am involved in all levels of test implementation including consumer recruitment, training, sample preparation and evaluation, managing the sensory program staff, data collection, analysis and developing written technical reports.

How did you get to this point in your career?

I came out of the U of A with a Biochemistry degree and was planning to apply to med school.  I decided to take a year off and went to a culinary school in Boulder, Colorado called Culinary School of the Rockies.  This six month program ended with a month of experiencing the culinary life in Provence, France.  One of my professors there recommended I look into Food Science as a career with my backgrounds in both science and food.  I then applied to graduate school at UC Davis and finished with a M.S. in Food Science.  In the last month of my program at UC Davis, I accepted the position I currently hold now.

What was your experience like at Arizona?

I LOVED my experience at the U of A.  I try to get back to Tucson as often as possible.  My educational and athletic experiences were extremely positive.  My professors, including my major professor, the much loved Michael Wells (who recently passed away), instilled in me a great love of science, which I carry with me to this day.  They made learning the tough subjects fun.  I thought all my professors were excellent.  And then of course my experience on the track with Coach David Murray was some of the hardest work I have put in during my 38 years.  Repeat 400’s in 95 degrees against the wind were brutal!  But being an All-American is truly one of my proudest accomplishments.  I look back at my athletic experience and wish I could do it again and again. It was hard to balance both a strong academic career and a successful athletic career.  It seems there was never enough time for both, but I came out of the U of A with a strong work ethic and the confidence to move forward.

What did Arizona teach you that you have valued the most?

Arizona taught me a true love of place.  Coming from rainy and green Oregon, I had no appreciation for the beauty of the desert when I arrived.  As a distance runner, we were out on training runs in the desert every day.  Three years later, I did not want to leave and I still love the Tucson desert more than any other place in the world.

How do you stay active in Arizona Athletics?

I get to U of A athletic events as much as possible.  When I visit Tucson I’ve always got something planned back on campus. We are lucky here in Oregon because some of the best running events in the world are hosted in this state.  I was able to cheer on the U of A athletes at this year’s Olympic Trials in Eugene.  Coach Harvey is an excellent team leader and I was so proud to see so many U of A track athletes go to the Olympics.  I also try to keep in touch with my U of A teammates as much as possible.  That is one thing that is so great about being a student-athlete; all those friends you make for life!

 A-Club “Family Forever, Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow”.