Everything, it seems, has come full circle.
In summer 2012, I interned at Candy Industry Magazine in hopes of gaining experience before my final semester of journalism courses at Western Illinois University. It was unlike any other internship I had.
I fleshed out my portfolio of writing samples, as I expected, but the experience involved so much more. It taught me to see the confectionery industry as a dynamic and multifaceted one. It taught me to appreciate the effort that goes into taking products from concept to reality. A desk drawer full of chocolate and other candy didn’t hurt, either.
Fast forward four years. I was working as a staff writer at a newspaper in Western Illinois when I learned earlier this summer that former Managing Editor Crystal Lindell was moving to a new position at Food Engineering. I jumped at the chance to once more join the Candy Industry team - for a variety of reasons.
First, taking on the associate editor role allowed me to return home. As a native of Chicagoland, it’s wonderful to work and live near family and friends after being away for so long. Easier access to Portillo’s and quality pizza is an added bonus.
I also look forward to traveling and meeting the confectioners, retailers and marketers responsible for making our lives a little sweeter. If there is one thing our world needs now, it’s more sweetness, and I didn’t need a background in newspapers to know that.
For me - and I would guess for many others - the mention of confections offers positive personal experiences. It brings me back to methodically organizing my Halloween haul into piles of Kit Kats, Twix, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups after a night of trick-or-treating. It makes me think of the Werther’s Original Caramels and the Goetze Caramel Creams my grandmother used to stash around her house. It reminds me of raiding my parents’ kitchen cabinets for Peanut M&Ms and Skittles. (I won’t comment on how recently that happened.)
Candy brings people together, and it’s bringing me to an industry I can’t wait to cover. As an intern, I saw only the tip of the confectionery iceberg, but it was enough to make me want to learn and see more. 
I’m excited for what lies ahead, including the opportunity to work with Editor-in-Chief Bernie Pacyniak. But mostly, I’m happy to round off one sweet circle.