Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Dana Garves Oral History Interview, February 19, 2016

Oregon State University
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:00 - Interview Introduction

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Okay, go ahead.

Segment Synopsis: Garves gives her name, birthday, current date and location of the interview

Keywords: Beer science; BrewLab

Subjects: Beer--Analysis; Eugene (Or.)

00:00:27 - Roots of Brewlab

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, this company started in 2014?

Segment Synopsis: Garves started BrewLab in her garage after leaving Ninkasi Brewing in October of 2014, and had been considering the idea for a while. She considers Ninkasi a great company to work for. After leaving, she started applying for business loans, wrote a business plan and checked with brewing companies on whether beer analysis would be a useful service. Garves got funding in December 2014 from local bank that supports breweries. Prior to that, she talked to other banks that didn’t understand importance of brewing. Garves brings up the economic factors of research and brewing, such as the expense to have lab equipment and staff. She looks at why other beer analysis companies have a low customer base, like WhiteLab. Finally, Garves explains the story behind the name BrewLab.

Keywords: Ninkasi Brewing; affordable service; beer analysis; beer industry; funding; industry growth

Subjects: Beer industry; Beer--Chemistry; Brewing--Analysis; Business planning

00:04:34 - Early Education and Affinity for Science

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Did you, have you always had an interest in chemistry?

Segment Synopsis: Garves talks about her ongoing interest in chemistry, starting with her movement towards science and math in early education. While chemistry was her hardest class in high school, she liked that she had to struggle to figure out what was going on. She then discusses how involvement in the IB program and the Science Olympiad team in high school influenced her view of gender progressiveness in science and her college aspirations in chemistry. Garves also mentions her other activities during adolescence, including playing softball, learning spanish and doing community service.

Keywords: Chemistry; International Baccalureate (IB) program; Science Olympiad; creativity; gender progress; language immersion

Subjects: Gender & education; Science--education; Volunteering; Volunteerism--Social aspects

00:15:10 - Career Aspirations in Education

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Which seems like it played out later in your life

Segment Synopsis: Garves discusses of her early career goal in teach high school-level chemistry. She explains that she decided on that path early on because she loved the subject and knew the importance of passion in teaching. Garves then describes her experience as a chemistry lab TA in college, and how she developed her teaching style there. She also tells the story of transitioning to college, her impression of Oregon State University, and why she enrolling at the University of Oregon (UO).

Keywords: Chemistry teaching assistant; General Chemistry lab; Passion for education; Teaching in chemistry

Subjects: Oregon State University; Science education; Teaching; University of Oregon

00:21:02 - Academics and Beer at the University of Oregon

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, what was it like as an incoming freshman to start at the U of O?

Segment Synopsis: Garves discusses the academic rigor at UO and her effort coming in based on advanced high school classes. She also talks about her experiences with beer as an undergraduate, her father’s interest in craft beer, and the importance of alcohol tolerance in business interactions. She observes the strong relationship between beer culture and business, and how college is her “practice” in tolerance to beer. Garves also details her interest in learning in subjects outside her field, such as in environmental studies. She also talks about her work with Julie Hack on doing outreach for green chemistry education, and the importance of understanding environmental impact in the chemistry field.

Keywords: Academic rigor; beer in business; craft beer; green chemistry

Subjects: Beer; Diversity; Environmental Studies; Interpersonal communication; Science education

00:26:28 - Teaching Opportunities in College

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well, where were some other places where that, that desire for teaching-

Segment Synopsis: Garves then transitions into talking about her science teaching experiences, from taking pedagogy classes to working on the UO green chemistry program, and how the motivation is less in helping others and more about being accountable to knowledge.

Keywords: Chemistry teaching assistant; Learning through conversation; Pedagogy in humanities; Pedagogy in science; Student engagement

Subjects: Classroom environment; Green chemistry; Humanities--education; Pedagogy; Science education

00:30:07 - Teaching Science and Gender/ Civil Responsibility of Education

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well, and I'm curious. We hear a lot about an emphasis on connecting the STEM areas to younger girls-

Segment Synopsis: Garves addresses the issue of encouraging women in STEM through noting how lucky she was to be supported by her teachers. She identifies that she was a minority in her scientific communities, and how gender could have played a part. Garves explains how she acted to promote science education for women through leading girls’ STEM camps at the UO. She recounts some of the projects they did in camp, including a forensics unit where they did blood splatter analysis and examined CSI episodes for accuracy. Garves identifies her motivation behind teaching others as a desire to keep herself accountable in her own learning, and uses her preparation efforts for the STEM camp as an example. She concludes by stating that her actions as a teacher are driven by civic duty.

Keywords: Civic duty; Civil responsibility; Female teachers in science; Individual learning style; STEM summer camps; Teaching and gender

Subjects: Accountability in education; Crime scene investigation (Television program); Forensics; Gender and education; Summer camps

00:37:22 - Initial Work in Industry

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So was it that curiosity that lead you to beer?

Segment Synopsis: Garves explains her decision to work in the chemistry industry after graduating from UO, which was based in her observation of professors with industrial backgrounds. She liked how teachers with job experience outside academia had passion and unique stories about working in chemistry. Garves then reflects on her first industrial job at a water testing facility and her dislike for the repetition and tedium of the position. She explains her worries about having chosen the wrong career path to get to chemistry education, and if all industrial work would be as tedious.

Keywords: Chemistry industry; Google server farms; Job tedium; Teaching and industry; Water and technology

Subjects: Boredom; Corrosion; Experiential learning; Water quality; Water--Hardness

00:40:14 - Working at the Ninkasi Brewing Company

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, this is like 2010?

Segment Synopsis: Garves describes how she found and applied to a job at Ninkasi Brewing company in 2010, and the excitement she had for the opportunity. In order to ensure being hired, she made an effort to be frequently engaging with the company. Garves illustrates how she was hired while touring the brewery, along with her initial impressions of the space. She recounts the quality of her lab when she arrived and the improvements she made to the space, along with describing the atmosphere of the brewery and the skills she picked up in beer tasting at that time. Garves also notes how she was placed in the same area as the art department, and how she and the resident artist have both gone on to provide services for the larger brewing community in Oregon.

Keywords: Ninkasi Brewing; arts and sciences; beer classification; fermentation science; quality control; scientific collaboration

Subjects: Beer--Chemistry; Breweries; Eugene (Or.); Quality control; Sensory assessment

00:47:14 - Development of Beer Science and Outreach

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Did you, so were you running sensory testing too?

Segment Synopsis: Garves recounts the development of her chemistry lab during her tenure in the brewery, and the sorts of tests she ran with the beer, such as checking CO2 concentrations, beer pH and sensory evaluations. She also details specific improvements that were made to the lab as the brewery got bigger. Eventually, Garves shared the lab with Jared Clark due to the growing size of the business, and she details how they worked together on beer analysis; she focused on the analytical methods while Clark focused on the sensory response from the public. She also outlines the different ways she and Clark did outreach on fermentation science and beer tasting with students, beer distributors and Ninkasi employees.

Keywords: Brewing and education; Creative problem solving; Sensory panels; Teamwork in science

Subjects: Beer and brewing; Beer tasting; Beer--Analysis; Beer--Chemistry; Brewing--Equipment and supplies; Outreach; Sensory Evaluation; Sensory assessment; Yeast fungi

00:52:41 - The Importance of Quality Control in Beer

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So there's the consistency and the sensory piece, but are there- what are some of the considerations for the legal side of the fact that you're producing an alcohol product?

Segment Synopsis: Garves illustrates the specificity of alcohol content required on beer labels to be sold commercially and the resulting importance of quality control in products. She states that her central belief is that there is no such thing as bad beer, and that it's important for the beer community to protect each other from losing customers with bad reviews. Garves then goes on to outline the different levels of access craft breweries have to quality testing, and her rationale for founding BrewLab in order to make testing affordable for smaller breweries. She states that the current standards of beer need to adapt to presence of smaller businesses, and that the best thing a brewery can do to be successfully is be consistently good at what they do.

Keywords: Scientific accuracy; affordable services; beer and science; beer standards; brewing criticism

Subjects: American Society of Brewing Chemists; Business success; Chemical analysis; Community; Quality control

01:07:22 - Involvement with the Ninkasi Space Program

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, let's talk about the Ninkasi in space [laughter]

Segment Synopsis: Garves tells the story about her role in the Ninkasi Space Program. She explains her job of designing the mission payload, and how she collaborated with Hybridyne and the Civilian Space Exploration Team in secret originally. She also talks about how yeast are stored for viability, and the relief of talking with others once the program was announced. Garves then describes the emotional effort experienced throughout the day of the first launch, and the anxiety of losing the rocket after impact.

Keywords: Civilian Space Exploration Team (CSXT); Hybridyne; Yeast in space; brewing science; emotional exhaustion; rocket science; secret project; yeast library

Subjects: Black Rock Desert (Nev.); Space exploration; Telemetry; Yeast

01:25:28 - Reflections on the Space Program/Mission One failure

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Did you ever find it?

Segment Synopsis: Garves states how long it took for the Mission one rocket to be found, and the reason the rocket was lost. She recalls the team response to losing the yeast, and realizing the failure of the experiment to show the viability of yeast in space. Garves reminisces on how unbelievable the experience was, and she compares the second mission to the first in terms of team involvement and energy. She also recounts her continued engagement with Ninkasi Space Program events after leaving the brewery.

Keywords: Emotional labor; Eulogies; Ninkasi Ground Control; Ninkasi Space Program; Yeast in space

Subjects: Beer and brewing; Global Positioning Systems; Inclusion, Social; Space exploration

01:30:56 - Transitioning into BrewLab/Beer Industry Community

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What was that transition- so you left soon after- what was that transition out like for you?

Segment Synopsis: Garves details the lead up to leaving Ninkasi and the decision to start BrewLab and help more breweries. She mentions that this decision was based in part on the increase in testing she did for home brewers within and outside of the brewery. Garves emphasizes how the transition was a very positive one due to the support Ninkasi showed for her new business, and how that is indicative of the brewing culture in Oregon.

Keywords: Affordable lab control; Career transition; beer collaboration; community support

Subjects: Beer--Flavor and odor; Careers & opportunities; Quality assurance; Quality control

01:41:13 - Perspectives on being Involved in the Brewing Industry

Play segment

Partial Transcript: I think that's, um, a sort of nice transition into the, or maybe an answer to the why do you-

Segment Synopsis: Garves sums up her impressions of her career in the beer industry, and her passion for helping brewers learn about berer science. She discusses how her work is still centered around science education and chemistry both through her business and outreach, including doing a beer science panel in Eugene with a variety of fields represented. To conclude the interview, Garves considers the beer industry going forward into the future, and how as more breweries arise, there will be more opportunity for product diversity and strength through consistently good products.

Keywords: beer experimentation; beer scientists; brewing and education; brewing in Oregon; product innovation

Subjects: American Society of Brewing Chemists; Creativity; Diversity; Oregon; Oregon Museum of Science and Industry