Tara McHugh, PhD

Nominations & Elections Committee Candidate
Current Title:
Research Leader
Email: tara.mchugh@ars.usda.gov

Why do you want to serve in this role?

I would like to serve on the IFT Nominations and Elections Committee for a few reasons. The first is to understand more about IFT's process for nominations and elections. I have been tangentially involved in this process for many years in various roles and am interested in exploring more elevated leadership roles myself in the future and feel this experience would be supportive of that. Secondly I value IFT and the importance of IFT to food scientists in academia, industry and government. Because I value IFT, I wish to support IFT in this manner. Finally I understand the importance of succession planning for any organization or team. It is the key element to a successful future for IFT and I am committed to doing what I can to insure a healthy future for IFT.

Please describe how your attributes and experiences have prepared you for board service.

I am a natural leader and enjoy leadership. I also recognize the importance of good leadership and this volunteer position is critical to selecting board candidates with exceptional leadership skills to guide IFT in the future. I am also a team player and a hard worker and if selected will commit to doing whatever work is necessary to select the very best to lead our organization. Finally I am a believer in IFT and although I believe IFT is a highly successful and supportive organization already, I see room for improvement. I would like to help identify opportunities for improvement, as well as people and paths that can successfully grow IFT into a better IFT in the years to come. I have been an IFT member for many years and have served in a wide range of roles.

Please provide a short narrative biography of important career and personal accomplishments.

Dr. Tara McHugh is a world renowned food scientist.  She is Research Leader of the Healthy Processed Foods Research Unit at USDA, Agricultural Research Service. She authored 140 peer-reviewed publications and patents, led 42 extramural projects, presented at over 150 scientific meetings and received a multitude of awards, including two USDA Secretary Honors Awards, three Federal Laboratory Consortium Awards and was recently elected Fellow by IFT. Her research has an h-index of 40 and her manuscripts have received over 7000 citations.  Tara’s career is distinguished by unusually productive and creative multidisciplinary research. The newly developed technologies and products resulting from Tara and her team’s research have solved formerly intractable problems. Consumers are benefiting because Tara’s novel food products, including 100% fruit bars, edible fruit and vegetable films, vitamin D enhanced mushrooms, and crispy fruit, vegetable and oat snacks are increasing specialty crop consumption in the U.S. while benefiting human nutrition.


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