Getting to Know Laura Willis July 2016

Laura Willis

For Laura Willis, volunteering with IFT has centered around communication. In her role as student representative to the International Division, Willis has learned ways to more easily communicate with people across all fields of food science. “The International Division is great because it is not specific to any one area of food science and really is just about encouraging people to share ideas and technology with colleagues around the world,” she says, adding that volunteering has helped networking feel more natural to her.

In addition, Willis’s participation in the 2015 Food Communicators Workshop at IFT has played an instrumental role in her life. During the workshop, Willis and her fellow participants bonded over the difficulties they face in communicating the value of food science to a world that is increasingly afraid of chemical-sounding names. “The speakers really engaged us and created such an enthusiastic atmosphere that before we had left the workshop, we were all certain that we wanted to work together and create our own food communication group,” she explains.

The group created Don’t Eat the Pseudoscience, a platform that aims to make food easier to understand. “What I enjoy the most about our group is our enthusiasm for working together to try and explain some of the myths and misconceptions out there about food,” she notes. [Visit to follow the conversation.]

Between her volunteering and her work at Ferrara Pan formulating new candies, Willis’s world is filled with food science, and she works to find balance, which she says involves “very serious prioritization.” She encourages members to look for roles that speak to their personal interests and reach out to divisions, who are always happy to have more people involved. “The most important thing is to enjoy your volunteering and do what you actually have time for,” she says. “Apply for scholarships and workshops—whatever you find that interests you! You can never be sure where volunteer activities may lead you!”

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Vice President, Volunteer Leadership Development
Executive Director, Feeding Tomorrow

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Manager, Volunteer Leadership Development and Recognition