Fermentation science grad brews up a second career

Kelsey Snyder
Kelsey Snyder

Sometimes it only takes one class to sell you on a program of study. For Kelsey Snyder, that class was FTEC 460 – Brewing Science and Technology.

Snyder was working in the CSU Graduate School and using her employee study privilege to take prerequisite classes for the brewing science class. During this time, the Fermentation Science and Technology program in CSU’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition was officially announced.

“I’ve loved the science of fermentation for the past nine years, so as soon as the program was announced, I quit my job to pursue a degree full-time,” said Snyder, who is graduating in May.

Finding fermentation

Snyder received her first bachelor’s degree in business administration from CU Denver in 2010, but after she started working for a small IT company, she realized working a desk job wasn’t her calling. During this time, she began to learn more about craft beer and industry culture.

“I found genuinely nice people who were as passionate about beer as I was,” Snyder said. “I knew then that I wanted my life to be devoted to the brewing industry, so I moved back to Fort Collins.”

Snyder, who moved to Fort Collins with her family when she was 12, graduated from Poudre High School and completed the International Baccalaureate program in 2006.

CSU’s Fermentation Science and Technology program blends strong interdisciplinary science with courses focused on the science, safety, culinary, and nutritional attributes of fermented foods and beverages. Snyder was especially drawn to the fermented beverages side of the program.

“The professors are incredibly knowledgeable and encouraging, and the students I am learning with are excited about understanding the science and art behind fermentation,” Snyder said. “It’s a good environment to learn in.”

Interning with New Belgium

During her time at CSU, Snyder landed an internship working in New Belgium’s Pilot Brewery. There she worked with recipe developers and the assistant brew master to research, refine, and taste upcoming beers. She helped with preparing ingredients, filling kegs, and the brewing process itself.

“I love that my supervisors are encouraging and open minded to ideas and questions,” Snyder said. “I have learned so much about the brewing process and the industry overall, and I’m still learning!”

In addition to maintaining a full course load and an internship, Snyder also worked several part-time jobs to help pay for her degree.

Snyder hopes to continue working with New Belgium after graduation. She’s interested in production brewing and yeast management. Although she’d like to stay in Fort Collins, there is also opportunity for her to work in Asheville, North Carolina, at New Belgium’s newest location.

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition is in CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.