College of Agricultural Sciences recognizes Outstanding Senior, student marshal

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Cara Boothroyd, a native of Endwell, New York, has been named 2016 Outstanding Senior by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. She was also chosen as the student marshal for the college's spring commencement ceremony, which takes place at 3:30 p.m., May 8, at the Bryce Jordan Center on the University Park campus.

The Outstanding Senior Award, sponsored by the College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society and the Coaly Society, honors the senior who best balances outstanding academics, extracurricular and leadership activities, work experience and communication skills.

Boothroyd is a food science major who also completed prerequisite coursework for medical school.

"Food science at Penn State is the perfect match for me because it fills my need for scientific inquiry, problem solving and creativity," she said. "Food science research also has practical implications in the medical field that fuel my passion for health and wellbeing. Food can be medicine but also can cause disease. When food scientists collaborate with doctors, they can put their research into practice and help prevent and treat disease."

Boothroyd's undergraduate career has been marked by exceptional achievement and recognition. She is graduating with a cumulative grade point average of 4.0 and has won numerous scholarships awarded by the college, food-science-related professional societies and other organizations. 

She enriched her education by participating in research, investigating how mushroom powder with L-Ergothionine, an antioxidant produced from fungi and bacteria, might affect probiotic survival in yogurt. She entered this project in the American Dairy Science Association poster competition and will present it at the association's annual meeting in July.

Her experience in the lab also included work on the Probiotic Study, where she extracted DNA from samples, developed methods to quantify probiotic bacteria and analyzed data. She was awarded the Institute of Food Technologists Microbiology Division scholarship for this work. She says she chose to do this type of research because of the practical implications for human health.

For the past four years, Boothroyd also worked at Penn State's Ice Cream Short Course, Ice Cream 101 and the Cultured Products Short Course, helping to teach aspiring ice cream shop owners and dairy industry workers. In addition, she supplemented her coursework with an internship at Chobani Inc. after her freshman year and with a study abroad program in Amsterdam, Netherlands, last summer.

Boothroyd was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society, served as a peer educator through the HealthWorks program, performed more than 30 hours of community service each semester through the Alpha Epsilon Delta pre-health professional society, ran with Penn State club cross country, and served as a Eucharistic minister at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center. She is also a member of the Food Science Club and the Food Science Product Development Team, which is advancing to the next stage of competition for its "Garden Poppers."

Boothroyd dedicated countless hours to the Penn State Dance Marathon. As the first THON chairperson for the Global Brigades organization, she organized a subcommittee to fundraise and "adopted" a Four Diamonds family. For her dedication, she was selected to dance in the 46-hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping marathon last February.

After graduation, Boothroyd will attend medical school at SUNY Upstate Medical University College of Medicine. She plans to stay connected to the agricultural community by practicing rural medicine in an area driven by farmers and their families. 

Last Updated May 09, 2016