Penn State Food Science Student Receives Dairy Innovation Scholarship from Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program

Applications Still Being Accepted for Checkoff’s Dairy Product Marketing Scholarship

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Heidi Mencl from Hershey, Pa., received the $1,500 Pennsylvania Dairy Innovation Scholarship provided to the Penn State University Department of Food Science from Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program.

“We are pleased to present this scholarship to a student who is undoubtedly an investment in the future of the dairy industry,” said Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program Chair Lolly Lesher of Bernville, Pa. “Heidi Mencl is just what our industry needs – smart, eager and an innovative thinker – who is interested in meeting the every-changing demands of consumers through dairy research and development.”

Mencl is a senior studying food science in the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, with graduation set for May 2024. She is working toward the completion of her Penn State Schreyer Honors thesis that focuses on research for developing a safe, sustainable food packaging that inhibits bacterial growth to improve food safety in all food products. She is conducting undergraduate research in the food microbiology laboratory on campus around this topic.

Mencl’s dairy interests were sparked when working on her family’s dairy farm in the Czech Republic, where she learned how to make yogurts and cheeses. She also completed a research and development internship with Hood this summer, where she worked on the ice cream team and developed her own ice cream flavor, a mango sticky rice ice cream.

Mencl says, “Dairy is often underappreciated and sometimes criticized, but it is a staple food. As society moves toward plant-based alternatives, it’s important to keep dairy safe and environmentally sustainable.”

Students are also encouraged to apply for Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program Dairy Product Marketing Scholarship by December 1. One $3,000 scholarship is available to a full-time undergraduate student entering their sophomore to senior year as of Fall 2023. Applicants must be enrolled in a college or university in Pennsylvania or a resident of Pennsylvania with an interest in dairy marketing.

The online application can be found here, or by visiting, and click on “Dairy Farms.”

Photo caption: Heidi Mencl of Hershey, Pa., received the 2023 Pennsylvania Dairy Innovation Scholarship provided by Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program to Penn State’s Food Science Department.

About American Dairy Association North East

American Dairy Association North East (ADA North East) is the dairy farmer-funded organization funded by participating dairy farmer’s checkoff investment to build demand and sales for milk and dairy foods throughout the local region. Representing nearly 9,000 dairy farm families in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and northern Virginia, ADA North East develops and implements local programs to drive milk and dairy sales at retail outlets and in schools. The organization also conducts consumer education about dairy through events, traditional and social media, and in collaboration with health professionals through National Dairy Council®. ADA North East works closely with Dairy Management Inc.™, the national dairy checkoff organization, to support nutrition research, national partnerships and developing export markets for dairy to bring a fully integrated promotion program to the region. For more information, visit, or call 315.472.9143.