Taylor Smith ’14 said she had always been interested in how the world works. She chose to major in chemistry because it incorporated her favorite subjects of math and science.
She is now a lab technician for Constellation Brands, a leading international producer and marketer of beer, wine and spirits. She uses lab techniques learned at Appalachian “to quantify alcohol, sugar, sulfur dioxide, acid, etc. in wine in order to monitor the fermentation and chemical levels in the wine,” she said. Her employer produces Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois and Ruffino wine brands, among others.
Appalachian’s Department of Chemistry emphasizes undergraduate research, and Smith worked with Dr. Brett Taubman on a project to quantify the gluten protein content of different beer varieties and analyze their degradation during the fermentation process.
Although her major was Chemistry (BS) – Certified Chemist, she took a strong liking to the fermentation courses. Smith said Taubman encouraged her to present her research at conferences and helped prepare her career path by working with her at least once a week outside of class.
“The chemistry department at Appalachian is smaller than a lot of other departments, so I was able to have a more personal experience with my professors – we worked closely together and they were always available for help,” Smith said.
“I really felt that each of my chemistry professors truly cared about my success and did whatever they could to help me along the way,” she added.