The 4-H Health and Food Science Camp welcomed 17 students to Michigan State University’s campus this August for a one-day intensive youth development program for teens. This camp aimed to help students develop interests and explore careers in the health and science industries while engaging in hands-on learning activities.

MSU alginate gel experiment

As part of the interactive undertakings of the day, TIC Gums provided a lab experiment that demonstrated how alginate reacts with calcium chloride in solution to form different textures. When the green-colored alginate solution is dispensed through a dropper into the calcium chloride solution, a bouncy, rubbery strand or droplet is created. This simple demonstration is also part of TIC Gums’ “Gums 101” course, an introduction to food hydrocolloids workshop required of all new employees.

The lessons about nutrition, physical fitness, and personal safety students examined at MSU’s 4H Camp are hugely invaluable. However, the problem-solving skills, community awareness, and passion for science they developed are even more important for the future leaders they can become!

MSU 4H campers

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Encouraging Food Science Education

Partnering with MSU for the 4-H camp is just one of the ways TIC Gums supports community engagement and youth development programs locally and nationwide. Every spring, the White Marsh location hosts “Ice Cream University,” a program for high school students interested in food science to create their own ice cream for a chance to feature their winning flavor at a local creamery. The Gums 101 course is made available to local teachers during professional development days to give them the chance to see how the types of ingredients they use in their classroom science kits end up in the foods they eat.