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Right ingredients for a long-lasting career

Budding food scientist puts her industry knowledge to the (taste) test

Life has served up many fruitful experiences for chef Lisa Hopkins, but none tastier than a degree in food science at the University of Southern Queensland.

After 32 years in the food industry, Lisa made the decision to pursue higher education - something she says was never on the table.

“I started my chef apprenticeship when I was 14,” Lisa said.

“My family and I had quickly realised school was not for me, and it was my dad that encouraged me to pursue further training.

“It taught me so much and took me so many different places, both geographically and professionally."

After making her way to the Toowoomba region and working locally for 10 years, Lisa said she was left wanting more.

“I had got to a point where I wanted to extend my industry knowledge when I serendipitously met Associate Professor Polly Burey from the University,” she said.

“She was inspirational and showed me there was still so much left to learn within the industry.

“With her encouragement, and the help and support of the University, I enrolled in the Tertiary Preparation Pathway, and was then able to enter the Bachelor of Science (Food Science).”

It wasn’t long before Lisa was excelling in her studies, with Associate Professor Burey impressed by her scientific skills.

“Lisa has always been one step ahead, always thinking of where to go next in her studies,” Associate Professor Burey said.

“Opportunities keep opening up for her because of her work ethic."

In 2022, Lisa joined Associate Professor Burey in her NO WASTE pilot program team, which focuses on design and development of new material circular economies, built to fit environments operating on a regional to metropolitan scale.

“Lisa has been able to contribute ideas related to her topic, which is focused on preventing coated cardboards (wax and polymer coated) going to landfill,” Associate Professor Burey said.

“It’s exciting to have Lisa on board and her work shows her potential for further higher-level research.

“I can’t wait to see where she goes next.”

Learn more about the Bachelor of Science (Food Science) at the University of Southern Queensland.

Woman in labs.
Lisa Hopkins continues to enjoy learning about food at the University of Southern Queensland.