WSC adds two new programs of study

Julia Baxter, Staff Writer

With the addition of two new majors, Fermentation Science and Plant Biology-Ecology Management, WSC will become the first school in the state of Nebraska to offer Fermentation Science as a major in the 2017-18 school year.
“The Fermentation Science program curriculum will prepare and educate students in the science and art of fermenting beverages through a rigorous core of classes that includes chemistry, biochemistry and organic chemistry.
“The program will include the principles of fermentation, microbiology, wine and beer production and analysis, and the sensory analysis of beer and wine,” Dean Tammy Evetovich said. “The Plant Biology-Ecology and Management track will provide students with a well-rounded background in plant biology that will prepare them for future studies at the master’s or doctoral level in the areas of plant molecular, cellular, and physiological biology.”
While the Fermentation Science major will be taught fully at Wayne State College, the Plant Biology-Ecology Management track is a joint program with UNL’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR).
“For Plant Science we worked with the courses we already had and will offer those for the three years the student will be at WSC,” Evetovich said.
Both programs of study will be useful to the students who follow these majors, as many employers want students with these qualifications.
“The Plant Biology-Ecology and Management degree path will prepare students for careers in ecology, botany, rangeland management, and field biology,” Evetovich said. “Some potential jobs in this area may involve basic research for those who seek to understand the biological and chemical processes by which crops grow. Scientists involved in applied research look to improve the quality, quantity,or safety of agricultural products. Other plant scientists manage production operations in companies that produce agricultural chemicals, seeds and machinery. Some plant scientists are consultants to business firms, private clients or government. Soil scientists, food scientists, farm managers and conservationists are also some career paths.”
Many people in Nebraska do not realize that wineries are an up-and-coming industry with many openings for jobs.
According to a study done by the National Brewers Association, when asked what qualifications breweries looked for in new hires with a four-year degree in brewing and fermentation science, 85 percent of respondents checked “laboratory skills,” 78 percent “engineering skills,” 34 percent “business skills,” and 36 percent “other.”
“Other” included brewing-process knowledge (12 percent), practical experience (6 percent), management training or leadership skills (4 percent), and a good work ethic and attitude (3 percent).
One respondent indicated that further brewing certification would be required on top of a four-year degree. Respondents were asked what jobs in their company would require a four-year degree. Most (55 percent) preferred a four-year degree for management and leadership positions, with about a third of those specifically requiring a four-year degree for brew masters or head brewers.
Other positions where a four-year degree was preferred included quality positions (24 percent), brewery positions (26 percent), lab technicians (17 percent), and engineers (14 percent).
Many of the classes that will be necessary for both of the majors being included in the WSC curriculum are already being taught on campus, which is why it makes sense that these programs be included in the options for the students at Wayne State College.
“We are dedicated to looking for new academic programs that are current and will serve our students’ career aspirations,” Evetovich said. “Most of the classes were already being offered. For Plant Science we worked with the courses we already had and will offer those for the three years the student will be at WSC. For Fermentation Science a few new courses will be rotated in such as ‘Wine and Beer Production’ and ‘Sensory Analysis of Beer and Wine.’”