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Alice Barker

The Clocktowers clock


"Make the most of your time at Otago, make as many connections as possible and take full advantage of any opportunities presented to you."

Alice is a Consumer Food Science Graduate, currently employed as a Sensory Analyst at the Australian Wine Research Institute.

“My role involves organising and running the trained external descriptive sensory analysis panel over a wide variety of studies involving wine. I am also involved in conducting consumer preference studies, and simple difference tests such as triangle tests with an internal panel.

For me, studying Consumer Food Science meant working with passionate lecturers, learning about the various sensory and consumer science methodologies and being able to test some of these in practice throughout my degree. I enjoyed learning about the different areas of food, from production to marketing, and having the opportunity to gain some practical experience through various assignments. This enabled me to find the area in the food industry which I am most passionate about which is the sensory, consumer perception and marketing of food.

After I finished my bachelor’s degree, I completed a summer studentship followed by an honours project focussed in the area of sensory science. I ran a descriptive sensory analysis study for both projects using the universities trained paid sensory panel. My honours thesis was titled the ‘Investigation of the optimal number of tasting replications when performing descriptive sensory analysis: a case study of Chardonnay wine’.

Both the summer studentship and my honours project prepared me well for my current job. The practical experience which I gained running descriptive sensory analysis panels was invaluable in helping me to secure my current role as a Sensory Analyst at the Australian Wine Research Institute.

Otago is such a friendly university, I really enjoyed the sense of community, and being able to form relationships with lecturers and staff in the Food Science department was extremely valuable also.”