Aileen McColm

BSc (Hons) Food and Consumer Science, Class of 2020

Graduate profile

Why did you decide to study at Abertay?

I chose Abertay over other food science courses for the hands-on, practical experience I would gain. Abertay was further from home than other universities, however I felt it was more important to find the best course for me. At Abertay you have the opportunity of working and learning in a state of the art food lab in the university, as well as a 10-week work placement in third year.

Read more below.

Aileen McColm - Food and Consumer Science

Tell us more about your placement, what was it like?

I spent my placement at Mackie’s at Taypack, and made it my goal to develop a new flavour of their crisps. I started by researching and generating ideas and by the end of my 10 weeks I had surveyed consumers, worked on the flavour profile, packaging design and pitched my product to the company’s directors and members of staff. Mackie’s Haggis, Neeps & Tatties potato crisps were further developed and released in January 2020, this was a totally invaluable and exciting experience for me!

I loved every moment of my time at Mackie’s and it confirmed that I’d chosen the right career. I’m so grateful to Mackie’s at Taypack for giving me such a great placement experience.

What would you say to someone considering studying a food course at Abertay? 

I’d say go for it! As the course is small, all the staff are really approachable and always happy to explain things or give advice. The experience you’ll gain will be so helpful when it comes to going out into the workplace.

What were the highlights of your time at the university?

Meeting new people with similar interests to me and having the chance to live in the friendly city of Dundee for four years. 

You worked on a particularly interesting final year project, can you tell us more about that?

For our New Product Development modules, my group was tasked to develop a range of vegan milk-style chocolate bars. After research and lots of trial and error we were able to produce a chocolate that tasted even better than some vegan milk chocolate alternatives on the market! 

What’s your long term ambition? 

Once things return to normal I will be taking up a Graduate Food Technologist post with food manufacturer Brown Brothers. Long term I hope to have established a successful career in the food industry working my way up in either New Product Development or Technical/Quality Control departments.

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