The undergraduate research and extension fellow will work directly with Fermentation Specialist, Bri Ewing at the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC. The intern will be involved in both research and extension activities surrounding the topics of hard cider and fermentation. Though the majority of the work focuses on hard cider, there may be opportunities to engage in projects and activities related to other fermented foods and beverages (e.g., kombucha, mead, pickles, etc.).
The cider industry is small but rapidly growing, and there are great needs for both research and extension education to support this product category. This industry is eager for knowledge, and you can expect a lot of enthusiasm from producers.
Currently, the research activities of this program include evaluating yeast nutrition during cider fermentation, identifying an appropriate amount of pasteurization for finished hard cider to prevent refermentation of spoilage organisms in bottle, and evaluating the food safety of cider when using ground-harvested apples. The intern will participate in a variety of activities to support these projects. Participation in these projects includes conducting experiments, collecting data, analyzing data, and presenting results. By the end of the summer, the intern will contribute toward a publication which will be a benefit to the intern’s resume.
The intern will also participate in several extension activities including workshops, newsletters, website content, social media content, and more. The intern will help prepare for educational activities that will occur during Washington Cider Week in September.
Overall, the work done during this summer internship will help develop more informed resources for the cider industry.
The intern learning outcomes include: ability to understand and follow an experimental procedure; ability to work independently; ability to formulate research questions; ability to collect and analyze data on a basic level; ability to present results to academic and non-academic audiences; development of laboratory skills; improvement of soft skills (e.g., leadership, public speaking, communication, etc.).