Hilary graduates this summer with her PhD in Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry from UC Davis, where she essentially created her own program in food science and technology and food regulations. Hilary’s passion is food and the environment, but her view is through the lens of analytical chemistry. Her dissertation focuses on ensuring the authenticity and quality of edible oils by setting legal standards, with a special interest in avocado oil. One of her long-term goals is to improve the communication of scientific food research to the public.
From North Carolina, Hilary did her undergraduate work at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, majoring in chemistry to acquire the tools to hone her degree pursuit at UC Davis. The behavior of eggs sparked her fascination in science. Intrigued by their amazing properties exposed to her when she was in high school, she then proceeded to spend weeks at home cooking them in carefully calculated ways to discover more about how they function. Baking is kitchen chemistry that Hilary still enjoys, even to the extent of making wedding cakes.
Hilary also has a strong musical bent; her parents were in a rock band, and she plays the piano, including the classics. She loves choral singing, too. Well before Covid, she was participating with a virtual choir that joined voices from far distant locations.