Setting Sail to Higher Education
Ivy Kloepfer’s journey to the University of Idaho took some extraordinary turns, including a four-year hiatus from school and a year living on a sailboat.
Kloepfer will receive her bachelor’s degree in food science from U of I’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences in spring 2019.
Kloepfer was born in Redlands, California, and raised in Boise. Her mom worked at a childcare center and frequently brought food for the children, an act that gave Kloepfer a passion for food at a young age.
“Food was always a pretty integral part of my upbringing.” Kloepfer said. “My mom was a catering manager before I was born and we’ve always been food-centric.”
Kloepfer enrolled at Boise State University in 2009 to pursue a degree in chemistry. She had a love for science, math, cooking and chemistry but didn’t see a career in chemistry that would make her happy and decided a year later to transfer to U of I.
“I went to the Get Involved Fair on campus and saw the food science club,” Kloepfer said. “Right after the fair I started the process of switching my degree.”
Kloepfer changed her major to food science in 2012. But a new adventure prompted a four-year break from school.
An Opportunity for Adventure
In 2012, Kloepfer married her husband, Marcus Foudy, who was enlisted in the U.S. Navy, and moved with him to San Diego where he was stationed. Living expenses were so high during their time in California that the couple decided to pack their bags and move aboard a 35-foot Coronado Sloup sailboat that they called home for a little over a year.
“Living space was very, very small.” Kloepfer said. “It taught me a lot about what I really needed to be happy, and what I don’t need, what can really weigh you down quite literally. A con to living on a boat is that it can be a very small space, anything you think about bringing on board has to matter quite a bit. Anything from kitchen décor, clothes, anything, weight capacity is a concern if you don’t want to sink.”
The experience taught the couple a lot about themselves and each other.
“It was really great, you get to know someone really, really well when you live in that small of a space,” Kloepfer said. “They’re good times and bad times, the good helped us to feel very comfortable around each other, but we also learned very precisely about each other’s personal space. We became emotionally attuned to each other for sure.”
Challenges to Overcome
After Foudy completed his military service Kloepfer decided that she wanted to finish her degree. One of the most challenging obstacles in her life to overcome was the decision to go back to school.
“I think one of the more challenging aspects for me was coming back to school,” Kloepfer said. “I was pretty intimidated about coming back, standing up to kids coming straight out of high school and continuing their education. I was concerned about being able to learn quickly enough, wondering if I was going to be competitive and if the age difference was going to make me less valuable to employers.”
Kloepfer returned to U of I in 2016 and soon found her home in CALS, where she realized she was not alone as a non-traditional student.
“I have met other students as old or older in the program.” Kloepfer said.
For Kloepfer, the campus and the community made U of I the right place for her.
“If you want to go to one of those colleges with a brick and mortar feel, that’s a little bit less urban, then U of I is it,” She said. “You can really make a community here. Living in the dorms here really helped me to feel connected into the university.”
Kloepfer has also experienced the hands-on opportunities that CALS has to offer. She worked on a research project with U of I/Washington State University School of Food Science Assistant Professor Brennan Smith and the Dry Pea and Lentil Council, which resulted in a publication. She is currently working as a general lab assistant with WSU Associate Professor Girish Ganjyal, gaining experience working with oil quality, dry peas, lentils, quinoa and apples.
Kloepfer plans to continue her education at U of I to obtain a master’s degree in food science. She hopes to go into research and product development in the area of confections, baked goods or candy.
“I’ve learned it doesn’t matter when you go back, if you want to continue your education you should.” Kloepfer said.
Article by Hannah Doumit, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Published in May 2019