Aaron Bodie’s life changed the day Dr. Steven Ricke gave a presentation on microbiology applied to the food industry in a biology careers class at the University of Arkansas. Whereas nothing else had quite captured his attention, Aaron was curious to learn more. He approached Dr. Ricke, who, sensing Aaron’s enthusiasm, offered him a place in the Ricke Lab.
His calm and practiced demeanor during his public defense as MSABD’s first ever PhD graduate belied Aaron’s difficult journey to get to that point. Dr. Ricke had accepted the directorship of MSABD and Aaron faced the choice of whether to move to Wisconsin. He arrived in Madison in August 2020, two months before Dr. Ricke and during the early days of the pandemic. The company that was part of Aaron’s research needed data, and he was forced to figure out how to operate in the unfamiliar MSABD processing plant under deadlines and with everyone wearing masks and staggering their shifts.
Today Aaron realizes he was “in the zone” at the time and encourages new students to be open to change, keep swimming, and not take everything to heart while always being open to advice. With pride, Aaron talks about taking on the challenge of campylobacter, which is notoriously hard to grow, and being able to quantify it using his repeatable growth and detection methodology. With a streamlined system in accordance with FSIS and USDA guidelines, Aaron’s work is sure to have direct food safety applications to industry.
Going forward, Aaron is looking to take a moment to celebrate his accomplishments before pursuing one of two food safety career options here in the United States. One is as a salesperson and the other is as a consultant. Either way, Aaron is excited to explore industry after academia and about the travel that both jobs entail.
Congratulations to Aaron on becoming the FIRST PhD graduate of the MSABD program! His public defense seminar was held July 27, 2022 in MSABD 1111.This article was posted in News.