The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Mina McDaniel Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Janice Dilg.

December 1, 2015


“The Memories of an Alumna and Sensory Scientist”  December 1, 2015  Location: McDaniel residence, Corvallis, Oregon.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, McDaniel describes her family background and upbringing in Salem, Oregon, and her decision to attend Oregon State University. She then provides a detailed overview of her years as an OSU student, commenting on her academic progression in Food Science and Technology, as well as her summer jobs at canneries, food packing companies, and fruit processing plants. She likewise discusses the climate on campus for women during the 1960s; her participation on OSU's women's sports teams in the era prior to Title IX; the activities in which she engaged as a member of Kappa Delta sorority; and her memories of the Columbus Day storm in 1962. In addition, she reflects on the assassination of John F. Kennedy; her involvement in the OSU Food Science Club and the National Institute of Food Technologies college bowl; the circumstances that led to her staying at Oregon State as a master's student studying sensory sciences; and the research that she conducted while a master's degree candidate.

McDaniel then recounts her first job as a food technologist at International Flavors and Fragrances, her decision to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts, and her experiences as a doctoral student in Amherst. From there, McDaniel recalls her tenure as a faculty member at the University of Manitoba, defines the types of work that is done by a sensory scientist, and discusses the path that she took in returning to OSU.

The remainder of the session is devoted to McDaniel's years as a member of the Oregon State University faculty. In this, she shares her memories of the state of the Sensory Science Lab upon her arrival, and the research that the lab conducted on wine, hops, beer, and Asian noodles, among other topics. McDaniel also details her experience of having been offered a promotion at an inappropriate compensation level and the steps that she took in having this situation addressed. The interview concludes with a description of the illness that led to McDaniel's retirement; notes on the development of the maraschino cherry and surimi at OSU; and McDaniel's appreciation of the time that she spent at OSU, despite several issues that she and other women have encountered during their years of service to the university.