Getting to Know Roger Clemens September 2017

Roger ClemensIt’s been a personal pleasure and professional prize to be part of the IFT organization and family for nearly 40 years,” says Roger Clemens, IFT past president and longtime volunteer. Clemens, an adjunct professor in the University of Southern California’s School of Pharmacy, began this four-decade involvement at the section level, responding to personal invitations to get involved with the Southern California Section. Clemens saw a connection between the section’s leadership needs and an opportunity for him to expand his limited professional network as a recent PhD graduate.

“Active participation in numerous leadership positions, including section chair, provided critical exposures at the intersection of nutrition, food science, and public health. Since those early days, there have been an abundance of opportunities to collaborate and lead within an array of IFT committees and task forces, thanks in part, to the opened doors facilitated by exceptional people,” he reflects.

One of those leadership roles was the IFT presidency, which Clemens held from 2011 to 2012, and he says the role allowed him to engage with the international community and give back to people around the world, often through education. “The opportunities to share the importance of food science, from crop to cell (borrowed from Mario Ferruzzi), reflect everyday occurrences. The experiences and exposures within IFT continue to represent critical components of educating the general public that is confused about the food supply and its health possibilities,” he says.

Clemens embraces this educator role both in his professional work and as a Food Science Communicator for IFT. “The continued support by past and current IFT staff … and my innate drive to convey evidence-based messages laid the groundwork for hundreds of interviews with the popular press,” he says, noting that communicators like Christine Bruhn and Carl Winter have inspired him. “Today’s flurry of social media and often unsubstantiated public comments at the interface of food science, nutrition, health, and medicine” also inspired Clemens to create a monthly column within Food Technology, “Food, Medicine and Health,” which has been published since 2004.

Clemens has found value in the work he’s done for IFT and in his other volunteering endeavors, including the Red Cross, and he encourages others to engage with the organization for their own growth—and that of generations after. “Volunteer opportunities represent learning experiences,” Clemens says. “It is those experiences that enrich the personal lives and professional careers of the next generation of leaders. It is those experiences that are quite rewarding. If one wishes to learn from others, then it’s incumbent that one gets involved and volunteer.”


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