Marc Morgan graduates in December 2017 from Appalachian’s Bachelor of Science in Fermentation Sciences degree.
What interested you in pursuing a degree in this field?
Like many students in the fermentation sciences program, the craft beer movement in America led to my pursuit of a degree in the field. After delving into craft beer and learning to homebrew, I decided to leave my career with the U.S. Coast Guard to come to Appalachian State University and gain a formal education in the trade that will become my career.
What have been your most beneficial experiences in Appalachian’s fermentation sciences program?
The fermentation sciences program presents students with the opportunity to build a strong foundation in the sciences that have direct, real-world applications in the beer, wine, spirits and fermented foods industry.
The knowledge gained through the completion of this program helps to generate some of the best employees in the industry. Completing the fermentation sciences program sets you up to be a “go-to” person in your field.
Describe the faculty in the program – how do they mentor you, inspire you, etc.?
In short, the fermentation sciences faculty are an encyclopedia. In two years with the program, there has not been a question that I have asked that one of the faculty members was not able to thoroughly answer, or provide me with resources to find an answer. I cannot stress enough to fellow students how amazing of a resource the faculty are.
I encourage all students to use this resource and to just ask questions. In the field of food science and fermentation, there is an endless amount of conjecture, misinformation and commonly held notions that just are not true. If you ever aren’t sure of something, or hear something that doesn’t sound right to you, there are several Ph,D.s that you have access to who can give you a scientifically sound answer.
Are you involved with any undergraduate research?
This semester, I have signed on to be a part of research studying the formation of biogenic amines in wine. Biogenic amines, which can cause adverse reactions in wine drinkers — including headaches, hypertension and flushing of the skin — are formed via the decarboxylation of amino acids through the metabolism of yeast and bacteria. While biogenic amine formation is well understood for Saccharomyces cerevisiae and bacteria metabolism, the production of biogenic amines via mould metabolism remains a relatively unstudied area of focus. This study has far-reaching implications for the wine industry, particularly in red wine production, where the use of bacteria for malolactic fermentation is widely used.
What do you hope to do when you graduate?
After being waitlisted for over six months, I have been accepted into UC Davis’ Master Brewers program for the 2018 class. After completion of the program, I will be sitting for the Institute of Brewing and Distilling's Diploma In Brewing exam. I hope to then start a career with Anheuser-Busch.
Why should a prospective student interested in this degree choose to attend Appalachian?
Appalachian State University has some of the best faculty in the nation. We all have to take classes outside of our major, and fortunately for us the general education, chemistry, biology and mathematics professors are equally as talented in their fields and equally as helpful as our department’s faculty.
The town of Boone also has a lot to offer for fermentation science students: three breweries; numerous wineries in the surrounding area; multiple, above-average coffee shops; a high-end wine and beer bottle shop (Peabody’s Wine and Beer Merchants); several restaurants that offer fermented foods; a bakery that produces some of the best bread in the High Country (Stick Boy Bread Co.); and some of the best cocktails, craft beer and cheeseburgers around (The Cardinal). There is no shortage of places to experience all of the tasty things that we learn about in a classroom setting.
Have you gotten involved in any leadership opportunities while on campus, and how are they enhancing your education?
Throughout my first year with the program, I helped to revive the Fermentation Sciences Club (formerly the Future Fermenters of America). Since then, I have continually been integrally involved with the club — organizing events, raising funds and generating interest.
Being actively involved with the Fermentation Sciences Club has kept me engaged with the department and faculty, as well as the local community. Over the past two years, the Fermentation Sciences Club has formed an incredible working relationship with department faculty, and numerous local and non-local businesses. We strive for collaboration.