Nominations & Elections

The IFTSA Nominating Committee is pleased to notify you of the slate of candidates identified for IFTSA 2018–2019 President-Elect and the IFTSA Board of Directors.

Candidate for IFTSA President-Elect

  • Samantha VanWees, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Candidates for the IFTSA Board of Directors

  • VP of Chapter Engagement: Behrouz Tilyayev, McGill University
  • VP of Membership Engagement: Adrienne Johnson, Alabama A&M University
  • VP of Competitions: Janam Pandya, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • VP of Volunteer Development: Felix Akharume, University of Kentucky
  • VP of Digital and Social Media: Amanda Sia, The Ohio State University
  • Member-at-Large: Kelsey Kanyuck, University of Birmingham (UK)
  • Member-at-Large: Nayara Luna Guzmán, Cornell University
  • Member-at-Large: Praveena Thirunathan, University of Guelph
  • Member-at-Large: Michelle Ecarma, University of Massachusetts Amherst

This nomination process, IFTSA and IFT Board of Directors approved in November 2016, is outlined in the IFT Student Association Bylaws. Candidates submitting their applications by February 1, 2018 were interviewed by the Nominating Committee over the last two weeks.

Voting members have 15 days, from the release of the Slate, to submit additional nominations to the Nominating Committee. Such nominations must be supported by a written petition signed by at least 2 percent, or 60 students, of IFTSA’s eligible voting members. Of those members, not more than 33 percent, or 20 students, may be identified with any one university. Petitions should be submitted to Nominating Committee Chair Matt Teegarden via email ( Petitions must be received by 11:59 p.m. (CT) on March 17, 2018.

As a reminder, if there are no additional nominations, the IFTSA Board of Directors shall elect the above slate on behalf of the membership, with terms beginning September 1, 2018.

2018-2019 IFTSA Board of Directors Slate

Samantha VanWees, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sam is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in food science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studies the complex structure of ice cream and frozen desserts. She first got involved with IFTSA as an undergraduate at Cornell University through competitions, and credits IFTSA with giving her the confidence and professional experience to grow as a food scientist. She now serves as a competition chair, and is a member of the K-12 outreach and competitions task forces. She also enjoys competing in the college bowl competition, and volunteering to teach food science with local K-12 STEM organizations. She is very excited to have the opportunity to serve IFTSA in the coming years!

VP of Chapter Engagement
Behrouz Tilyayev, McGill University
Behrouz Tilyayev is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Food Chemistry at McGill University, with plans to pursue a Master’s degree in the near future. He was raised in Uzbekistan and Turkey, and so, is excited to bring his international perspective into the IFTSA leadership. His involvement in the IFTSA began from his first year in university, in September 2016, when he became the U1 (sophomore) student representative for the McGill Food Science Association. Currently, he holds the position of President of the McGill Food Science Association, and Area Meeting Chair for the North Atlantic Region. He sees his involvement in the IFTSA as a way of giving back to the Food Science community; a community that has allowed him to pursue his passions for food outside of the classroom. Behrouz also enjoys exploring different cultures through the study of foreign languages; he is currently perfecting his Japanese.

VP of Membership Engagement
Adrienne Johnson, Alabama A&M University
Adrienne C. Johnson is a native of Saint Louis, Missouri whose family relocated to Huntsville, Alabama in 1998. A 2003 graduate of Sparkman High School Adrienne began her matriculation at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University in 2004 in the Department of Food and Animal Science, where she completed both her undergraduate and Master’s studies. After completion of her master’s she joined the work force as a Quality Control Microbiologist. She has since returned to her alma mater to pursue her doctorate in Food Science with a concentration in Nutritional Biochemistry. Her proposed research focus is on the Effects of Citrus Fruits and Selected Phytochemicals on Breast Cancer.

VP of Competitions
Janam Pandya, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Janam is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Food Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He received his Bachelor’s in Food Engineering from India and Master’s in Food Science from UMass Amherst. His current research focuses on developing new and rapid food analysis methods using Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS). He was born and grew up in India and moved to Massachusetts in 2015 in pursuit of higher education. Janam has three years of professional work experience, including two years of with Abbott Nutrition in India and six months interning with Nestle R&D center in Ohio. He has been involved with IFTSA in various activities since 2015 most recently as chair of the Developing Solutions for Developing Countries competition for the last two years.

VP of Volunteer Development
Felix Akharume, University of Kentucky
Felix Akharume is a PhD. student at the University of Kentucky focusing on Food Engineering with research interest in the molecular dynamic modelling of plant protein for enhanced functionality. 
Felix has been an active member of IFTSA since studying for his MSc. in West Virginia University (WVU), where his contribution and that of others resulted in the official approval of WVU’s IFTSA Chapter. He equally served as a student volunteer for IFT 2017 and has remain an active member of IFT Food Engineering Division among others.  Felix is passionate about expanding the global presence of IFTSA through visionary leadership, talent-driven outsourcing of tasks and broader membership engagement.

VP of Digital and Social Media
Amanda Sia, The Ohio State University
Amanda Sia earned her Bachelor’s from the University of Minnesota and is currently pursuing her M.S. in Food Science at The Ohio State University. Her current research focuses on the use of vibrational spectroscopy and pattern recognition to quantitate macronutrients in peanuts. She has participated in product development teams and undertaken various internships in the food industry. Amanda was born in Malaysia and raised internationally. She is enthusiastic about science communication and the use of various media to share exciting research with the general public. She spends a lot of time thinking about what will resonate with a target audience. Amanda is thrilled to be getting involved with IFTSA on the national level and can’t wait to see what will be accomplished in the coming year!

Member at Large
Kelsey Kanyuck, University of Birmingham (UK)
Kelsey Kanyuck is a first year PhD student at the University of Birmingham (UK). She is currently the VP of Chapter Engagement on the IFTSA board and was previously the Central Atlantic area representative. Kelsey received a MS in Food Science from North Carolina State University in 2017 and a BS in Food Science and a BS in Chemistry from the University of Maryland in 2015. She has held internships at Mondelez International, The Hershey Company, the FDA, and the USDA. Kelsey is excited to be a part of IFTSA leadership to meet other passionate students and connect the community to global ideas and opportunities.

Member at Large
Nayara Luna Guzmán, Cornell University
Nayara Luna Guzmán is an undergraduate student in food science at Cornell University. She says that becoming involved with IFTSA was one her best decisions as a student. She began her involvement as a freshman in Cornell's chapter and her involvement continues to this day. Through IFTSA she has gained professional growth, bold leadership, and a community of friends. She is interested in research and development, culinary and pastry arts, marketing, diversity initiatives, and service.

Member at Large
Praveena Thirunathan, University of Guelph
Praveena is a Masters student at the University of Guelph in Canada, where she is pursuing an MASc in Biological Engineering. Her research focuses on developing a bean flour with improved nutritional properties from germinated beans. Her love of food science stems from her undergrad years at UBC, where she completed co-ops at Cargill and Nestlé, participated in College Bowl for 3 years, and served on the IFTSA Board of Directors for 2016-2017. She is excited to volunteer in the IFTSA Board of Directors once again as a Member-at-Large, and hopes to further connect international chapters with IFTSA.

Member at Large
Michelle Ecarma, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Michelle is a graduate student of Food Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMass). She completed her undergraduate degree at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona) in Food Science and Technology with a minor in Microbiology. She credits much of her educational success to the challenging, yet nurturing environment in community college, which provides a diverse body of students equal opportunities to pursue fulfilling careers, such as her own. Before starting Cal Poly Pomona, she worked as a Biological Pathways Student for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and continued for 3.5 years until her move to UMass. Her involvement with IFTSA has been a thoroughly rewarding journey and she is excited to return to the Board of Directors with her adventurous experiences from opposite coasts. Feel free to contact her about anything!

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