Alicia (left) and Ryan Ziegler beside the Purple Cedar River. (Photograph offered by Alicia Ziegler, taken earlier than the pandemic)
Alicia and Ryan Ziegler grew up fixing issues on their household farm close to Battle Creek, Michigan.
Now they’re fixing issues like Spartan Biosystems Engineers.
Alicia, a senior, will graduate from Michigan State College biosystems engineering program in Might. His brother Ryan graduated in Biosystems Engineering from MSU in 2017, and now works as a manufacturing supervisor at Archer-Daniels-Midland, a meals and uncooked supplies processing firm.
“I’ve at all times grown up round agriculture and animals, so I’ve at all times had an actual ardour for it, however I additionally actually get pleasure from math, science, and problem-solving,” stated Alicia. “Once I watched MSU and noticed their Biosystems Engineering program, I used to be actually drawn to this.
It additionally helped that Ryan, 4 years her senior, already learning biosystems engineering at MSU.
“My brother and I are very comparable individuals by way of what we love, what we love and what we’re keen about,” stated Alicia. “Once I was deciding the place to go to highschool, I might have a look at the MSU majors and ask them, ‘Ryan, what are you doing?’ It was he who took me beneath his wing.
Translate the guide into actual work
Alicia selected to enhance her main in Biosystems Engineering with a Meals Engineering focus primarily based on her pursuits. It’s one of many 4 concentrations MSU’s Biosystems Engineering applications supply, together with bioenergy, ecosystem engineering and biomedical engineering. Concentrations should not obligatory, however they will improve a pupil’s tutorial expertise and assist them develop expertise in a selected space of curiosity.
“The engineering of biosystems is huge, which is admittedly nice, as a result of it makes us very marketable, however the focus of meals provides me a little bit extra information within the space that I am keen on,” she stated.
Alicia Ziegler, Director of Biosystems Engineering
After graduating, Alicia needs to grow to be an agri-food engineer. His expertise rising up on a farm piqued his curiosity in how meals travels from producers to distributors to customers.
“Agriculture is complicated. There are plenty of issues to do to get meals from farm to plate, ”stated Alicia. “I discover it fascinating how far meals has reached customers.”
As a 2021 recipient of the Division of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering prestigious Farrall scholarship, she’s on her solution to nice issues.
Alicia has accomplished a number of internships at Cargill, a worldwide meals and uncooked supplies processing firm. These internships, targeted on protein processing, included a digital internship in the summertime of 2020 throughout the novel coronavirus pandemic. Her first two internships concerned on-site work in operations and challenge administration, whereas the digital internship targeted extra on knowledge evaluation.
“Internships are an effective way to begin and achieve expertise,” stated Alicia. “You’re employed with groups. They do not simply allow you to exit by yourself. You’ve got individuals you be taught with. You meet the workforce, you work together with the gear, and it is sort of a pleasant catwalk, the place you may get used to what it is wish to be an engineer.
Ryan, who at the moment works at ADM’s mint oil distillation plant in Kalamazoo, Mich., Accomplished internships with the corporate earlier than working there full time. He was first employed at a soy protein manufacturing facility in central Illinois and returned to Michigan within the fall of 2020.
“The largest factor I realized from my internships is what an engineer really does in an industrial surroundings,” he stated. “How does the guide translate in actual life? Methods to go from a handbook of equations to the implementation of an gear and the creation of worth in a product from the primary to the final stage? “
Design revolutionary options to issues
Senior design initiatives additionally had an affect in offering straight relevant experiences that formed Ryan and Alicia’s curiosity in biosystems engineering.
Ryan Ziegler (left) and Medeline Labelle verify the water high quality throughout their senior design challenge analysis journey to Hopewell Kids’s House in Belize whereas Professor Wei Liao takes photographs. (Photograph taken earlier than the pandemic)
Ryan’s senior design challenge, performed throughout the 2016-2017 college yr, aimed to enhance water high quality for Hopewell Kids’s House in Belize. Hopewell gives housing for orphans and foster youngsters, and likewise has a farm on web site. Biosystems engineering Professor Wei Liao organized for Ryan’s workforce to journey to Belize as a part of their analysis.
“Going to Belize for my senior design challenge was a spotlight of my time at MSU,” Ryan stated. “I used to be in a position to do some hands-on work, which I actually loved. I realized rather a lot about organizing conferences, speaking info and organizing that info. It definitely helped me with larger later initiatives.
These later, bigger initiatives included management roles at ADM: main a division, serving to fee a brand new pea protein plant, and main a $ 2 million challenge to interchange and enhance a pea protein plant. glass-lined reactors utilized in a manufacturing facility.
Alicia’s senior design challenge within the 2019-2020 tutorial yr evaluated inclusions in ice cream, equivalent to cookie dough balls and chocolate items, for Tillamook Creamery. As a result of they assist make the product distinctive, meals processors wish to steadiness the variety of inclusions with the quantity of ice cream in a container to create a balanced taste that can be value efficient and environment friendly in manufacturing.
As a part of the challenge, which concerned style testing, Alicia’s workforce visited the Oregon dairy to see firsthand how their ice cream was produced.
“Our exams revealed that the inclusions tended to settle in direction of the underside half of the container earlier than freezing,” she stated. “What would occur is, as a shopper, you dig into the ice cream container and you are like, ‘I am unable to discover cookie balls!’ as a result of the bulk is within the decrease half of the container. We needed to discover a solution to create a extra even distribution in order that clients have been completely happy and saved shopping for the product. “
Working with an actual world downside has offered Alicia with precious expertise for her future profession as a meals processing engineer.
“Discovering efficient options to surprising issues was crucial half,” she stated. “But in addition, studying the way to talk properly with individuals at a distance and actually perceive what the issue you are attempting to resolve is.
“You sort of should dig deeper. After you have your actual query, that is actually when your work can start, and that is the one you might be actually tackling. If you happen to can determine this one out and determine it out, all the opposite questions you must make it occur actually fall into place. “
Alicia developed her connections and information within the trade as a member of the Michigan chapter of the American Society of Agricultural and Organic Engineers and the MSU Biosystems Engineering Membership. She was ASABE secretary from 2017 to 2020 and ASABE consultant from BE Membership from 2018 to 2019. In her function as ASABE consultant, Alicia helped set up the presentation of the ASABE audio system to the BE Membership conferences.
Alicia Ziegler (far left) with different 2019 Biosystems Engineering Fellows (left to proper): Alex Seybold, Taryn Hanses and Aaron Newberry.
“ASABE is an effective way to satisfy fellow biosystems engineers in a extra casual setting the place you may simply have conversations and get recommendation on what’s subsequent, for instance, what do you do after you graduate. college?” she says. “It is essential to know and be taught from the individuals within the discipline, and to sort of get a really feel for what it is wish to be a full-time engineer, in addition to the totally different alternatives that come alongside. exist. ”
BE Membership is a extra social membership for MSU’s biosystems engineering college students to attach with one another and discover their frequent pursuits. Actions members take part in embody cheese making, ice cream making and trade excursions, which Alicia calls the spotlight of her tutorial profession.
Alicia thanks her brother for introducing her to the BE Membership and the alternatives it affords – which has helped to strengthen her curiosity in biosystems engineering.
“I went to my first BE Membership reunion with Ryan and knew immediately this was the right membership for me,” she stated. “He actually loved it too, and he had all good issues to say about it. Actually, he is doing now, after commencement, what I plan to do. It is fairly neat, prefer it’s within the household.
Alicia stated she was near Ryan earlier than the 2 traveled to the state of Michigan, however being Spartans solely introduced them nearer collectively.
“I can speak to her about college and we perceive one another’s language as a result of we each perceive it,” she stated. “It’s a very distinctive expertise and I’m actually grateful to have had it.”
She can be grateful to review an space that fascinates her.
“The issues associated to meals, power, the surroundings and well being are actual and biosystems engineers could be a part of the answer. That is why I am so enthusiastic about it, particularly for me, on the meals facet, “Alicia stated.” For me meals is love. We’ve got a giant household and dinners are the best way you present your love. Everyone seems to be making meals. So by serving to feed individuals, that is how I deal with individuals.
Alicia stated that compassion and caring are a part of being a biosystems engineer.
“The issues biosystems engineers are engaged on – they’re counting. There may be definitely a humanitarian and altruistic facet to biosystem engineering, ”she stated. “It isn’t simply on the finish of the day you clear up a math downside. You make an actual distinction. “
This story was initially featured on the Faculty of Agriculture and Pure Assets web site.