Imagine going to work each day surrounded by the scent of chocolate. That’s all in a day’s work for Rebekah Bollinger ’06, the food safety compliance specialist at the sweetest place on Earth: the Hershey Company.
Graduating from Messiah with a degree in chemistry, Bollinger administers several different tasks to ensure all products manufactured at the Reese plant meet the quality and safety standards of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“I had the unexpected opportunity to fill in as quality assurance manager for a few months,” said Bollinger. “During this challenging experience, I learned the importance of listening to the needs of others, better understanding processes and elevating issues to find resolution, which built trust with fellow employees and created a more collaborative work environment.”
During her time at Messiah, Bollinger says she appreciated the writing-intensive courses, which improved her communication and interpersonal skills needed to take on the various responsibilities of her career today.
Each day, Hershey produces approximately 500,000 pounds of quality peanut butter cups, but Bollinger aims for an even greater goal: product development for children with malnutrition, such as ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF).
While earning her master’s in food science, Bollinger studied RUTF as part of her seminar research. Hershey’s RUTF product, Vivi, is a peanut-based nutritional bar. These products are used already by World Vision and other aid organizations to help improve global health.
As Bollinger reaches for her career goals, she also shares a challenge for current students: “Always keep a hunger to learn close to your heart. A lifelong learner thrives on new experiences and challenges by maintaining a positive attitude and a heart for the needs of others. Most importantly, keep Christ at the center of your life to gain wisdom and a desire to serve those around you.”
— Livia Ungurean ’16