Sure we all play with food as children. In fact for many years I got in trouble for throwing my peas at my brother, no matter how much he deserved it. Which, yes Zach you always did. But if you told me years ago I would grow up and play with food for a living, I would have laughed, and said that would be cool but I’m pretty sure my mom won’t let me.
But here we are years later and I am graduating from the University of Maryland… and that is
what I do. I play with food. I am graduating with a degree in food science. And I honestly have to say it’s the coolest thing ever.
As the days in my senior year dragged on and slipped away I realized that I am part of the coolest college at the University of Maryland. My roommate, a business major, is constantly complaining about finance and accounting. Sure they have a great building, but
e excel spread sheets, I literally played with who really likes doing taxes? While she is mad
ice cream. While other language students painstakingly wrote papers on Shakespeare, the plant science people were designing the most amazing landscape for a competition. While American Studies students were sweating over the sociological effects of mass media, the environmental policy students were making the media! If we all joined forces we would have the best food, the coolest, healthiest pets, the most amazing landscape architecture, and the best house on the most eco-friendly block!
Not only do we have the coolest college, we are doing the most amazing stuff! For example, one of my senior peers in Food Science created a cupcake mix that is sold in an aerosol container and baked in the microwave. I’m talking about making a single cupcakes in
mere seconds. And yes, as an impatient college graduate I call that a gain in this world. Some of the faculty from the Environmental Science and Technology Department created an exhibit for the Smithsonian! The Smithsonian! They also house exhibits of the most famous
art, technology, and historical artifacts this country has seen! Students from across our college helped plan the 2008 Recycle Mania Competition right here on this campus. And across all the majors many of us have already been working for the government from the EPA to the FDA and USDA. We’ve worked in classrooms, labs, dirt pits, farm yards, garden
nurseries, and kitchens. People can only dream of doing what we do. We play with “dirt,”
food, animals, plants, and environment technology as a job!
Now is the time to put those unique and wonderful experiences to work. Now is the time for change. The future is not up to us just because we are the next generation. But because they need our unique expertise! Most the major problems arising in the world have to do with our environment, our health, and our food supply. Global warming, land erosion, world hunger, sustainability, pollution, animal extinction, the list goes on. We have the ability and knowledge to solve these problems and lead others to stop and reverse the harm we already done to the Earth. We have the skills to solve these problems and we must lend our knowledge and creativity to tackle them. Our skills and future jobs are the forefront and the center of everything that will have to be dealt with in the coming years.
It is time to take those to take those lessons from the soils lab and apply them. Take those hours spent in the food science kitchen and create a more nutritious meal. Take the ideas from the 4-H club and bring them the main page. Use the research from animal sciences to preserve more species. Use the time spent identifying native and invasive plant to create a more sustainable national park. Use those proposals from environmental policy class to change the way we view the government. We truly are innovators and designers of tomorrow!
Yesterday we took tests, finished labs, turned in proposals, and emailed last minute papers. We’ve played with food, plants, animals, and soil. We’ve completed all our graduate
requirements. Today, today is the day we get to make decisions and choices. We can make the decision to take what we’ve learned here and apply. We can make the choice to make a
difference. So that tomorrow we can look back at all the change we created! My peers, look around, you will see these faces again. They will be on newspapers, head of government agencies, in research journals, on TV, and in the White House. Class of 2009…look around, we are the future!