One step at a time

How scholarships helped bakery science student Sierra McCain advance her passion.

By Sara Wallace

“I think if you understand bread, the chemistry and how it bakes, you can understand anything in life; nothing is a problem! Just know, bread!” — Sierra McCain


Bread, the heart and soul of bakery science, was once a daunting class experiment for Sierra McCain to perfect. There was too much water, too little flour, too much proofing until she finally hit that sweet spot and perfected her bread formula. Bread making became a lesson she’s been able to translate as an important moment of patience in her bigger story.

“When I’m working on experiments or different types of formulas and I finally complete them, I get that overwhelming feeling of relief knowing I did my best. I put in the effort and it works,” McCain said. “K-State has given me the skills to learn how to adapt very quickly. Sometimes things come up and I may not know what to do or I may face adversity but I’ve learned to just go with the flow and figure things out one step at a time.”

Kansas State University is the only school in the United States with a four-year bakery science bachelor’s degree. This put Sierra McCain of Nashville, Tennessee, in a situation she did not expect herself to be in, but has proved to advance her passion.  

“I never imagined myself going to K-State, but I came and saw that this program could push me to another level that other places cannot even compete with,” McCain said. “Because of being here I’ve been able to have job opportunities, internships and connections with baking companies. It has given me a head start and the push I need to get where I want to go.”

Along with the opportunities that have opened in McCain’s life, her passion has been fed also. 

“There are so many people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” McCain said. “So I am really passionate about feeding America and learning how to cut down on the food insecurity problem, which is very important to me.”

At K-State, McCain has been able to dig into her passion to study food insecurity and make connections within the field thanks to scholarships. 

“Scholarships help me because instead of going to work one night, I could go meet some corporate employers who also have a passion for feeding America and connect with people who have the same goals I do,” McCain said. “I couldn’t do that if I was worried about making money at the same time.”

“One should donate to bakery science because we're so unique, and the students and professors are so passionate,” McCain said. “It’s investing in a great cause.”

As McCain finishes her last year at K-State, the lessons she’s been able to pocket are unique to K-State and to the future of solving issues related to world hunger.

“I think if you understand bread, the chemistry and how it bakes, you can understand anything in life; nothing is a problem! Just know, bread!”

McCain

Read more about the impact of private philanthropy at Kansas State University in Good for K-State.

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