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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Tracewell

Spotlights: Cheesemongers, the Blues, and Aging Matters

CAREER: Cheesemonger

Median salary: $31,399

Education needed: On the job training or certificate Job growth: 10% (faster than average)

For such a silly name, becoming a cheesemonger is serious business! Stores of all sizes—from specialty artisan shops to large grocery stores—need people with expertise to recommend which cheeses pair well with which foods and wines, and which cheese is at its best season. It's estimated that there are over 1,800 types of cheese in the world, so that's a lot of cheesy knowledge to store up! Cheesemongers make purchasing decisions for the stores, making sure they’re always stocked with the best varieties, and work directly with suppliers, such as small dairy farms or large distributors from around the globe. They also manage receiving, storage and ripening, arrange the cheese displays, and answer customer questions about the many products that they’re selling.

To land this gig, vast knowledge of cheese is clearly required. Formal training programs exist, such as the certification through The Cheese Society of America, but they're not necessary to get a job in this field. The Academy of Cheese also has multiple levels of certification and locations around the world. Many cheesemonger jobs will also provide on-the-job training.

Along with knowledge of cheese, physical stamina is a must. Cheesemonger work can be surprisingly demanding, as it includes standing, bending, pulling, cutting, and pushing wheels of cheese—some weighing in at 80 pounds! The starting salary for cheesemongers isn’t that high, but a person with great passion and enthusiasm for cheese who continues to add to their knowledge can easily earn $50,000 annually, such as this job posting for a cheesemonger in Massachusetts.

If you’re interested in where the cheese comes from, you may want to consider a related career: cheesemaker. Their starting salary is a bit higher than the cheesemonger (the seller), roughly $36,321 per year. Cheesemaking is a very technical job (such as knowing how cultures and rennet transform milk into cheese) and involves a lot of chemistry. It can be a creative and fulfilling task but also physically demanding. Waking up at 4:30 am and filling cheese vats, aging cheeses in caves, lots of clean-up work, and then managing all the shipping, for starters. For the love of cheese!

A day in the life of a cheesemonger is actually quite fascinating, and there's even an entire cheese memoir dedicated to a sneak peek into the life of a progressive cheese man: Edgar dishes on his love affair with cheese at a San Francisco farmers market in Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge.

The secret ingredient is always cheese.

COLLEGE: Whitman College

Location: Walla Walla, Washington

Tuition: $55,560

Size: Small (1,579)

Mascot: Blues

Whitman College is one of the select colleges in the Colleges That Change Lives club, an exclusive list of only 40 colleges in the United States known for their student-centered approach to education. At Whitman, this is evident in their small class size (9:1 student to faculty ratio), highly ranked professors, large numbers of Fulbright scholars, highly encouraged class discussions, and their #4 ranking in Princeton Review’s “their students love this college” category, and #5 in “best health services.”

Located in the historic town of Walla Walla, Washington, which was recently named “Friendliest Small Town in America,” Whitman students absolutely love their sunny and scenic southeast corner of Washington state. They have the advantage of an idyllic rural community but are only three hours from Spokane, four hours from Portland, and four and a half hours from Seattle.

Being a private school with a high tuition sticker price shouldn’t scare students away. While tuition is currently $55,560, it’s good to know that 77% of students receive financial assistance from Whitman College, with the average need-based aid award being $45,185 in 2019-2020.

In addition, Whitman is committed to meeting full financial need for all DACA and undocumented students using private grant money from the college.

Whitman College is one of the West’s top liberal arts colleges, and you may be wondering: what do people study at Whitman? Their strongest programs include biology, psychology, economics, politics, environmental studies, English, and performing arts. Biochemistry, biophysics, and molecular biology are also popular concentrations. However, if you want to study business, you’re out of luck...Whitman has no business program. They are most known for graduating ethical leaders. In fact, Whitman graduates rank among the top 15 colleges in the nation for Peace Corps volunteers and the top 20 for Teach for America participants.

Because you’re in a small town, this means students flock to campus life and social activities. Both freshmen and sophomores are required to live on campus. The majority of students play intramural and club sports, and Greek life is quite active with 35% of students involved in fraternities and sororities. Whitman is also known for its top-notch theatrical productions and recently received a record-breaking number of awards in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival competition. Whitman College’s Department of Theatre and Dance produces a season of theater and dance each academic year with productions open to the public.

If you love watching your team play, the Whitman Blues compete in Division III athletics. Men’s tennis is especially strong, with 12 consecutive Northwest conference championships. Men’s and women’s basketball and swimming are also nationally ranked. However, “Onionfest” might be the most popular thing going...a regional ultimate frisbee tournament.

If you're choosing a liberal arts college in the Northwest, choose Whitman!


SCHOLARSHIP: Aging Matters

Amount: $1,500 annually

Deadline: May 15, 2021

Type: Short essay; awarding an annual college scholarship to an individual that best demonstrates to us why "Aging Matters" to them. is the sponsor of the Aging Matters scholarship (apply here!). They are dedicated to the quality of life of senior citizens. They began this scholarship to bring awareness to the many challenges facing our elderly, and want to promote the care and support of the elder population. This $1,500 annual college scholarship will go to a student who currently cares for an aging person, works or volunteers with the senior citizen community, or wishes to pursue a career in the field of elderly care in any capacity.

The Aging Matters Scholarship awards $1,500 to be applied towards tuition, books, board and other expenses at a 2 or 4 year accredited college or university.

How to enter: write a short (less than 1000 words) essay on why aging matters to you.

Scholarship Details:

  • Amount: $1,500

  • Duration: One-Time Payment

  • Number of Recipients: 1 per year

  • Applications accepted beginning June 15th for awards the following year

  • Deadline Date: May 15th, 2021

  • Selection Date: June 15th, 2021

  • Announcement Date: As soon as the recipient is contacted and eligibility confirmed

Application Requirements:

  • An existing college student or incoming freshman (to be enrolled in the Fall of 2021 in good academic standing)

  • Attending any 2 year or 4 year accredited college or university as a full-time student

  • Complete and submit the application form.

  • Judging will be based on the submission quality of the application, which will include a short, 1000 word or less essay on why Aging Matters to the applicant.

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