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Certificate Program Helped Grads Brew Up a Career Change
For many it takes several years working a traditional desk job to realize they need a change. For Chris Preston and Emily Siddall, the desire to change up their day-to-day led to them both enrolling in USciences Brewing Science Certificate Program.
While Preston, who graduated with a degree in finance, was an experienced home brewer who was interested in turning her hobby into a real career, for Siddall, it was a “quarter-life crisis” that led her to the program even though she had never brewed a beer before.
Preston took the two-year option so she could keep her day job while completing her education. Today she is a brewer at Stolen Sun Brewery in Exton, PA.
“What we learned at USciences is what I do, every day. Malt and milling analysis, yeast cell counts and viability, fermentation management, all directly from the program,” she said.
She interned at Root Down in Phoenixville, Pa., before Victory Brewing offered her a position as an assistant brewer. At Victory, she was responsible for production during her shifts at the 200-barrel brewhouse. And then she was offered the brewer job at Stolen Sun.
“I thought I knew a lot as a home brewer, but I really didn’t. Now I really understand the science behind what’s happening and how to test at each stage. It’s two different worlds, like home brewing times a thousand,” she said.
Siddall had doubts, but after landing an internship at Weyerbacher Brewing Company in Easton, Pa she found her confidence.
“I really thought I would start in [Quality Assurance], but they needed a brewer,” she said. After the internship, the brewery offered her a full time position. Today, she handles production on Weyerbacher’s 40-barrel system.
Inside a commercial brewery, she quickly realized the value of all those classroom hours. “I understand every phase of the process; water chemistry, hop utilization, sanitation, pump management. It all came together, from the lecture to the big scale,” Siddall said.
Changing careers was scary, but every day Siddall said she is reminded that she made the right decision.
“It was a total 180. It’s a joy to get up and go to work, even when alarm goes off at 4 a.m. I’m living the dream, thanks to USciences,” Siddall said.
Categories: Misher College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Biological Sciences, Brewing Science, Alumni, Proven Everywhere, Graduate, Career