“It was one of my first times speaking in front of 100 people, and my heart was racing. The people and other competitors at the event were awesome, providing support to help calm my nerves. It was an awesome experience, and I would do it again,” Bernin said.
The competition brought together the winners from Quick Pitch events at UW System campuses. They had three minutes to impress the judges. Bernin, who graduated May 7 with a master’s in food science and technology, presented “Developing Protein Rich Higher Fiber and Antioxidant Cranberry Pomace Infused Soy Flour and Rice Flour Blend Extruded Fried Snack.”
“My reaction to placing second was disbelief. I knew that I had polished my speech and did my homework. However, the other competitors were very strong speakers, and I feel like all competitors were within a couple points of each other. After I got over the disbelief, I felt proud,” said Bernin, of White Bear Lake, Minn.
Competitors were judged on the effectiveness of their research pitch and its potential value to society.
“The research I worked on was how to add cranberry pomace to an extruded snack and see how the cranberry pomace influenced physical, nutritional and sensory aspects of the snack,” he said.
Bernin doesn’t plan to pursue his idea as a business. However, he is continuing his food science and technology studies and research this fall as a Ph.D. student at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash.
He worked as a research assistant in the Food Process Engineering Research Lab at UW-Stout under Assistant Professor Pranabendu Mitra, who also was his program director and thesis adviser. Mitra received research funding through UW-Stout’s Evelyn Van Donk Steenbock Endowed Chair and a WiSys Spark grant.