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GCU students work up an appetite for food science with YouTube video

Tue, 08 Jun 2021 13:19:00 BST
(pictured above) Charly Lyons and Greg Ferguson
(pictured above) Charly Lyons and Greg Ferguson

Two GCU students have joined forces to help inform secondary school pupils about the wonderful world of food science.

Food Bioscience Student Charly Lyon and Greg Ferguson created a 35 minute YouTube video titled: ‘A slice of science – exploring your pizza!’, in a collaborative effort involving Food and Drink Federation Scotland and DYW Dumfries and Galloway.

Charly explained the background to the project and how it linked into their dissertations, which encourage young people in Scotland to consider a career in the food and drink industry.

She said: “Most of our dissertation project would normally be lab-based but because of the pandemic we couldn’t get into the labs at all. We were then given other options instead and one of them was introducing food science into schools and looking at more of a teaching approach. Neither myself or Greg want to go into teaching but both of us were keen to get the subject out there because it’s not that well-known.

Charly added: “We spoke with Food and Drink Federation Scotland, who are our link to the industry, and then got in touch with a few teachers – which led to us developing our initial idea of bread to pizza - because it was more likely to interest young people.

Our contact at FDF Scotland was Skills Manager, Moira Stalker and she has links to DYW Dumfries and Galloway. Through that they asked us to do a piece on our project and we really liked the idea of creating the YouTube video for it.

It’s pretty crazy to think that the first draft of our dissertation was due in January and we’re still doing work around it now!”

Despite being an avid watcher of YouTube videos, Greg never previously had experience of being on the other side of the screen but was delighted to finally get his big opportunity.

He explained: “I’m really happy that I got involved with the whole thing. It was a great way for us to basically take our project that we’d worked on for the last six months and distill it down.

We started off by making the pizza dough - which was the main focus of the whole thing - and while that was rising it gave us the time to talk about who we were and why we were doing all this.

Charly spoke about the fermentation that goes on inside the dough and what food science is all about, while I discussed things like allergies and food spoilage.

At the end, we then brought out the pizza dough and showed how it had risen. It all went really well – although I could have left it in the oven for a bit longer!”

Despite some initial doubts about the whole project, Charly was delighted that her and Greg teamed up together.

She said: “I didn’t know how I felt about it at the start because I was worried working with someone else could almost de-merit everything but it’s actually made me work harder!

I’d say Greg and I weren’t really that close before because I only came into the Food Bioscience programme in third year and we’ve hardly been on campus. I didn’t really know anyone that well, so this has really developed our friendship. It was nice to have someone to talk to and it definitely helped being able to bounce ideas off someone else.”

Greg was also very positive about the whole experience and would encourage other students to step out of their comfort zone.

He explained: “We’ve done our project but I also enjoyed doing all the extra stuff we’ve got involved with outside of it. I had never thought I’d have been part of a YouTube video, so it’s definitely helped my confidence in terms of speaking in front of people, which will be beneficial in future.

Sometimes you’ve just got to jump into things and go for it. University is about learning and studying but it’s also about trying new experiences.”

Hungry to find out more? You can watch Charly and Greg’s YouTube video via this link.

By Ross Clark

Got an SHLS or GSBS story? Email me at Ross.Clark@gcu.ac.uk or connect with me on Twitter