Getting to Know Yael Vodovotz February 2017

Yael Vodovotz

Yael Vodovotz began volunteering with IFT’s International Division while an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois, taking on the role of student representative. In that role, she met other members of the Student Assoc. as well as faculty and industry professionals. “This was a great experience socially and professionally, and I keep many of those friendships today,” she reflects. “I believe IFT gains tremendously from their international reach, and students that get involved in global issues get a much more rounded education about food and its impact worldwide.”

The International Division also played a big role during her graduate school years, when Vodovotz traveled to Mexico to collect mango samples and analyzed them at the University of British Columbia. “The trip to Mexico and all the connections I made there were facilitated by members of the International Division that I was part of in my undergraduate years. I couldn’t have done any of that work without their help,” she says.

These days Vodovotz is a professor in food science and technology at The Ohio State University, where her research focuses on the physico-chemical properties of foods and biomaterials as they apply to functional foods and bioplastics. She credits her role on the IFT Press Advisory Group, which reviews proposals for IFT’s book publishing series, with keeping her informed of some of the latest scientific trends. There she has also met what she describes as a very diverse group of individuals who are passionate about translating their research into books.

“I viewed volunteering as a way to give back but also as a way to meet people, interact, and learn about new things,” Vodovotz explains. “Balance is key. These days with my very busy teenagers and a highly demanding work environment, adding more to do becomes a real challenge. However, we can all get into a rut of doing the same thing if we don’t go out and invite new challenges, so I’ve always been committed to try new things and get involved.

“You gain great self-satisfaction and meet wonderful new people and have amazing new experiences by being a part of an organization and lending a hand,” she adds.

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