Getting to Know Elizabeth Pletsch November 2016

Elizabeth Pletsch

Elizabeth Pletsch’s involvement with IFT first started last year at the 2015 Nutrition Division social, when she learned about an opportunity to serve as an IFT Connect lead from the current chairs. “I started there, and it’s been great ever since,” says Pletsch, who is now incoming chair of the division.

“As a volunteer, I was able to see the strong network existing with the Nutrition Division,” says Pletsch, a PhD candidate in food science at Purdue University. “The area of nutrition can cover such a wide range of topics and avenues, and it was great to see how all of those pieces can work together toward a common goal.”
Those pieces include engaging with topics that aren’t her focus; while Pletsch’s research centers on carbohydrates, she says being part of the division has helped her think more broadly and stay up to date on the implications of food science research. Being part of her division has also given Pletsch access to diversity within the field. “It’s been an enriching experience being involved in a part of a group that consists of individuals from all levels and backgrounds—students, professionals, and academics.”

In addition, as a member of multiple divisions, Pletsch has been able to see better ways for divisions to work together. “You learn which issues in specific areas are trending and have the most interest at any given time, and can capitalize on that information,” she says.

While Pletsch recognizes that all new endeavors require time and energy, setting weekly goals for herself was a good way to manage her responsibilities. She encourages IFT members to take advantage of the benefits divisions offer and to do their part to make them better. “Take initiative in going after volunteering opportunities and developing ways to advance the divisions,” she says. “And remember, volunteering is something that you should have fun with too!”

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