Two recent Middle Tennessee State University fermentation science graduates have padded their resumes with Lynchburg, Tennessee-based Jack Daniel’s Distillery. A third fermentation science grad will continue working for a family brewery in Manchester, Tennessee.
Henry Feldhaus and Valerie Preston were already employed at the world-famous distillery. As MTSU graduate students, they performed research this spring in addition to their regular duties.
All were among nearly 20 MTSU Master of Science in Professional Science participants who wrapped up internships with video presentations.
The internships became virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic that forced the university and partnering companies to embrace public health guidelines regarding social distancing and states across the country employed stay-at-home orders throughout the spring.
MSPS is a groundbreaking two-year master’s degree program that combines curricula in business and STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — to produce in-demand, working graduates, many of whom land with the companies they interned with for one or more semesters.
Also known nationally as Professional Science Master’s, or PSM, the MTSU degrees equip students for successful careers in business, nonprofit, government or the academic world.
In addition to fermentation science, MSPS degree fields include actuarial sciences, biostatistics, biotechnology, engineering management, geosciences and health care informatics.
Tony Johnston, director of the fermentation science program, said his three former students — Feldhaus, Preston and Shelby Haggard — “probably have interesting tales to tell” from their internship experiences.
“Valerie worked in the laboratory at Jack Daniel’s, which is a rare commodity and carries a huge amount of responsibility,” Johnston said. “Shelby’s family is opening a brewery.”
Feldhaus, 30, works in the still house at Jack Daniel’s. His internship lab time was greatly reduced by the quarantine, but he said with “all my samples inaccessible, once things go back to normal, I plan on continuing this (rye sensory) research in the microlab further, for more than just educational reasons.”
“The internship has been worth its weight in gold because we don’t get in the lab much,” Feldhaus said. “It has broadened my scope of the science behind what we are doing.”
In her geosciences internship, Lauren McAdoo “wanted to develop a new set of skills” where she already was employed. “GIS (geographic information systems) technology uses specialized computer systems to gather data and to take that data and put it on the map. It would be beneficial for me to learn how to map with large amounts of data in a reduced amount of time.”
The spring 2020 MTSU Master of Science in Professional Science graduates, with their hometown, degree fields and place of business internships included:
• Joseph Henry Feldhaus IV of Lynchburg, Tennessee, fermentation science, Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg.
• Shelby Haggard of Manchester, Tennessee, fermentation science, Common John Brewing Company in Manchester.
• Bowen Jiang of Dalian, China, actuarial science, SDL Pic, Dalian, China.
• Steven Joseph of La Vergne, Tennessee, biotechnology, Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee.
• Katrina “Kate” Klein of Somerville, Alabama, engineering management, Quality Industries in La Vergne, Tennessee.
• Christian Lawrence of Culleoka, Tennessee, engineering management, Total Fuel Systems, Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee.
• Elijah Little of Knoxville, Tennessee, engineering management, Advanced Plastics Inc., Nashville.
• Melissa Marr of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, engineering management, Nissan in Smyrna, Tennessee.
• Lauren McAdoo of Murfreesboro, geosciences, True North Geographic Technologies in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
• Katy Moore of Gadsden, Tennessee, geosciences, Fullerton Laboratory in Murfreesboro.
• Sarah C. Morse of Lebanon, Tennessee, geoscience, USDA/NRCS in Murfreesboro.
• Valerie Preston of Lynchburg, fermentation science, Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg.
• Dibran Rexhepi of Nashville, Tennessee, biotechnology, Advanced Breath Diagnostics LLC and DBA Carin Diagnostics in Brentwood, Tennessee.
• Curtis Rookard of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, biostatistics, Tennessee Center for the Study and Treatment of Dyslexia in Brentwood.
• Brennan Stender of Franklin, Tennessee, actuarial science, Fortitude Re in Brentwood.
• Amy Su of Nolensville, Tennessee, biostatistics, Tennessee Department of Health in Nashville.
• Kaitlyn Swan of Nolensville, geosciences, City of Franklin, Tennessee.
• Andrew Vancil of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, biostatistics, MT Engage at MTSU.
• Juante Williams of Memphis, Tennessee, biotechnology, Hap & Harry’s Brewing Company in Nashville.