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Liberty Horner

Food Science and Nutrition

Food-Science-and-Nutrition_Student_Liberty-HornerWhat appealed to you about studying in Newcastle?

I am from Stockton on Tees so Newcastle was an easy journey on the bus or train so I knew I could come home on a weekend if I wanted to. I had previously travelled up to Newcastle for shopping and theatre trips and really liked the city.

What qualifications did you have?

I have A-levels in Home Economics, Biology and Classics and provisionally wanted to study Home Economics; however this was not at Universities I wanted to go to. So my Home Economics teacher suggested I try a Food Science degree.

How did you feel during your first week at Northumbria?

I remember shopping a lot as I had never had so many shops so close to home! And there were many group meals in my flat that week with lots of beer and bonding, I can recall there being a sausage and chicken tikka masala one night which was a new experience for me.

What do you like most about the course?

I have really enjoyed my third year as a whole but the most enjoyable was Food Microbiology in the second year which taught me how to look for food spoilage in a lab setting. This module was invaluable for my work experience at the brewery giving me the basic understanding before I went. I really enjoyed the practical work as it helped me understand the theory so much better. It also gave me the skills that I would need for my future career.

Do you have the opportunity for any work placements during your course?

I undertook a five-week placement in the final semester of my second year, I choose a big company as I thought that this would give me a broader view of manufacturing and different experiences. My choice was Dunston Brewery - even though it was a 2 hour journey each way I knew it would be worth it.

This gave me an opportunity that many students would not be able to have due to the contacts of the degree lectures and the time that was set aside so that I could work full time for five weeks. The placement led to full time employment over the summer and part-time during the term. My role has varied from; beer spoilage microbiology, sampling around the plant, hygiene commissioning, procedure updating but unfortunately not taste tester!

Can you give an example of a piece of work you’ve been involved with recently?

I have recently finished my dissertation that was undertaken at Northumbria University and Dunston Brewery (formally known as ‘The Federation Brewery’), the research looked into the affects that freeze drying has on yeast and how well it compared to fresh. This required a lot of ingenuity to produce methods that would be sterile to grow the yeast and additionally ways of testing the yeast without it dying by heat or age. The brewery provided me with brewing specific equipment that would give more rapid and accurate results.

What do you do when you’re not studying?

I enjoy cooking at home on a weekend and aim to try as many different recipes as possible.

What’s your accommodation like?

In my first year I lived at Garth Heads which was five minutes from the city centre, the location was great but you had to be a fan of historic buildings to appreciate Garth Heads. And it was hard not to be jealous of new builds such as Quay Point over the road.  I am currently living with my parents so it cannot really be beaten. I moved home after my first year to reduce costs so that I could afford not to work if I needed to for my studies.

What would you like to do when you graduate?

I want to work in a food factory, hopefully in quality.  From my previous experience I have found the methods of measuring quality really interesting. I really enjoyed the work I have done at the brewery but I would like to work in food to broaden my horizons.

How do you get on with your tutors?

Really well, more so in the third year than ever as you would expect. I thought that they would just provide academic help but they have also provided advice on finding jobs to situations arising in group work.

Do you have any advice for anyone applying for your course?

Make sure that you look into all aspects of the course such as accommodation, night life and the city or town. I would also try and talk to a student (for example undertaking the shadowing) to find out what the course is really like rather than trying to decipher it from the prospectus.

What three words would you use to describe your time at Northumbria?

Scientific, Gastronomic, Hectic (especially 3rd year).

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