Getting to Know Helen Joyner May 2016

Helen Joyner

For Helen Joyner, volunteering with IFT has always been student-focused. She began her involvement through IFTSA, serving as College Bowl Competition chair for three years. Now that she’s out of school and teaching as an assistant professor in the School of Food Science at the University of Idaho, she has continued her volunteering by becoming the faculty advisor for the IFTSA College Bowl team there. In addition, she has worked with a variety of workgroups, including the Teaching and Learning, Hot Topics, and New Professionals workgroups and the Academic Advisory Group, as well as chairing the Education, Extension & Outreach (EEO) Division Undergraduate and Graduate Research Paper Competition.

“As a faculty member, one of my primary responsibilities is to disseminate knowledge to students, peers, and the general public,” says Joyner. “Volunteering with IFT provides an excellent platform for me to share what I know about food science and build opportunities for others to share their own knowledge and continue to learn.”

Joyner also says that being active in IFT is a great way to stay current with industry issues and needs, and she also chooses volunteer work that will help her network for research opportunities. She loves being involved within the EEO Division because of the passion for food science she sees there. “Knowing that there are other people who are passionate about food science education and are eager to learn, share, and try new educational techniques to help students master food science concepts is very encouraging,” she explains. “I really enjoy discussing educational research with my fellow EEO volunteers, as well as what works and what doesn’t in terms of student learning in the classroom.”

Though the amount of time that these volunteer activities require can be daunting, Joyner believes that the benefits of being involved are worth the effort. “I feel that I have a responsibility to give back and ‘pay it forward’ to others, as I’ve been helped by so many people to get to where I am now,” she says. She also employs some strategies that help her find a balance between work, volunteering, and home life. “I try to pick volunteer work that I genuinely enjoy, so it doesn’t feel like work,” she explains. “I also try to take one day a week that I don’t do any work or volunteer duties; it’s a sort of recharge day. Taking time for myself is important too!”

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Vice President, Volunteer Leadership Development
Executive Director, Feeding Tomorrow

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Manager, Volunteer Leadership Development and Recognition