Midnight Snack: September 2012 Official Newsletter of the IFT Student Association


Head Chef: A Letter from our President


IFTSA Past-President

Jennifer Willig

Hello Foodies!

I can’t believe that summer is coming to a close and Fall semesters are starting back all across the US and Canada! If you’re looking to stay connected to your food science community, keep your local food science clubs and local IFT sections in mind for volunteering opportunities.

 If you’d like to learn more about what’s happening outside of your Chapter’s area or share your club’s activities with other chapters check out IFTSA’s new blog, Science Meets Food, at www.sciencemeetsfood.org.

At this time, I would like to turn the gavel over to Matthew Cael, your new current IFTSA President. It has been my pleasure serving as your IFTSA president this past year.  I can truly say that I have grown as an individual and value all of the experiences that I have had while serving you.  I am pleased with the direction and momentum that the Student Association is headed.  I look forward to continuing to work with the Student Association next year and seeing this organization grow and reach many more people in the future.

Jennifer Willig

Current IFTSA President

 CaelHi Fellow Foodies!

To begin, I would like to thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve as the IFTSA President for 2012-2013. The IFTSA had a very successful meeting in Las Vegas at the IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo, and is excited to start the year.  I would like to congratulate all of our competition winners for this past year and encourage everyone to start planning now for this year's round of IFTSA competitions! It was also great to meet so many of you who attended the AMFE, and to learn about all of the exciting happenings around the IFTSA world.

For this year, the IFTSA is continuing its initiative to increase membership and working to provide opportunities for our members to learn and grow as future food science professionals.  These goals are not possible without the input of our membership. I encourage everyone to become an active member in IFTSA and IFT. Take advantage of all of the opportunities that your local food science club, IFT Section, IFTSA, and IFT offer to you to meet, network, learn from, and teach each other about the world of food science.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to serve as your President this year.  I look forward to working with you all.

Matthew Cael

Expiration Dates: Announcements & Deadlines

It’s time to gather up a group of fellow food science enthusiasts and get started on an IFTSA product development competition. These competitions enable you to apply all of the knowledge you learn in the classroom to real world development challenges. Don’t miss out! More information on each competition will be available soon!




Chapter of the Year

David Bloom 

May 1

Developing Solutions for Developing Countries

Diane Schmitt

January 15

Disney - IFTSA Product Development Competition

Kavita Solanki

February 15

Heart Healthy Product Development Competition

Adriana Soto

December 5

IFTSA & Mars Product Development Competition

Ariel Buehler

February 1

Undergraduate Research Paper

Xi Chen

March 1

The Almond Snack Product Contest is an annual competition organized by the Almond Board of California for Chinese food science students. By developing key relationships with food science universities and food manufacturers the Almond Board builds long-lasting awareness and preference for using California Almonds in new snack products in China. The innovation of the Chinese students demonstrates the versatility of almonds as well as how almonds’ health benefits can make a positive difference in a product. 2012 is the ninth year of the contest. Over the course of the contest, more than 250 almond product prototypes have been developed and more than 15,000 students across 56 universities have participated.

The grand-prize winning teams from the 2011 contest were selected for the prize categories of Product Innovation and Product Communication. The Product Innovation prize-winning team came from East China University of Science and Technology, and won with their product “Malt Cracker with Almond and Brown Sugar.” Composed of graham cracker, melted brown sugar, and ground almonds, this team’s product was designed as a convenient and nutritious almond snack which is relatively simple to produce. The Product Communication prize-winning team came from China Agricultural University, and won with their TV advertisement for a product they also developed called “Almond Lover.” A soft almond cake covered by chewy sticky rice mochi, this team’s product acts as a symbol of enduring love and is marketed towards couples in the student-made commercial.

The students and their professors attended the IFT Annual Meeting in June, providing them a chance to interact with their peers in the IFT Student Association, learning all that this professional student organization can offer and how to build bridges across the U.S. and China food science academic programs. 

IFT is launching a “Are you a Food Policy Pundit?” quiz for members and nonmembers alike. The 10 question quiz will allow colleagues and friends to test their knowledge and share results with friends. To ensure the quiz is accurate and easy to use, we are recruiting 5-10 student members to pilot test the quiz. Interested? Email kpaffhouse@ift.org to be added to the list.

Want pertinent information related to current food trends, opportunities as an IFTSA member or to hear from industry professionals on what life’s like after school? Check out the official IFTSA blog, Science Meets Food. You’ll find all of that and more!

Local Flare: Chapter & Club News

Alabama A&M University
Alabama A&M’s food science club reunited students, faculty, and staff with a Welcome Back potluck meal, complete with ice breakers, fellowship, and a speech by Dr. L.T Walker, Dean of the College.

North Carolina State University
North Carolina State UniversityThe NC State Food Science Club hosted a successful Welcome Back barbecue and cornhole tournament with students, faculty, staff, family, and friends to kick off the new year (See photo). They also had a meeting on September 28th with S&D Coffee and provided breakfast for dinner to their members.

Texas A&M University
Texas A&M started off the year with a social at the local movie theater and had their first meeting on August 29th (followed by an ice cream social!). They are planning to host a Welcome Back party on September 18th.

Texas Tech University
The Texas Tech Food Science Club has been developing “Breaking Bad” inspired T-shirts to entice their new and current members. In addition, they represented the club at Ag-Fest by making Raider Dots (Ice cream with liquid Nitrogen) and hosting an “Are you a Food Geek?” contest. They’ve also got an intramural flag football team in the works!University of Illinois

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign kicked off the year with a picnic to welcome their new graduate students to the department (See photo).

University of Tennessee
University of Tennessee started off their year with a social at a local pub and had a good reason to celebrate, with 10 new graduate students joining the department. The club also hosted a lunchtime mixer out on the lawn in front of their food science building to allow everyone to mingle.

Washington State University/University of Idaho
The WSU food science club is welcoming new students at their first meeting with ice breakers over pizza and salad. They are also starting an intramural co-ed softball team! Furthermore, the WSU/UI food product development club starts ideation next week with a new twist on brainstorming.

What big plans does your food science club have for the coming year? Don’t forget to send in recaps of your events with pictures to Emily Wolter, emwolter2@gmail.com, for inclusion in the next Midnight Snack issue!

Blueplate Specials: Opportunities for IFTSA Members

As a member of IFTSA, you have access to the IFT Career Center and the wide variety of job opportunities that it offers. Are you looking to be a research and development scientist, a sales representative, a professor, or a quality assurance director? Your food science degree can open the door to these opportunities, and many more.

Do not let your FREE One Year of Transition Membership pass you by. When the time comes to renew your IFT membership, you will see a statement under the “My Account” tab of ift.org that states “No Longer a Student? Click Here”. Your first year of IFT membership as an industry professional will be FREE!
Your FREE Membership includes:

  • Attending the IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo at the student rate
  • Continuing education programs at complimentary or discounted prices
  • Networking opportunities with food professionals
  • Volunteer engagement options
  • Employment services
  • Accessing information on new products and consumer trends
  • Ability to build your own peer network through the New Professionals online community

Kelsey RyanSnapshot of your life now (current employer, where do you live, hobbies).
I am a post-doc at Washington University in St. Louis. My current work includes a clinical nutrition study in Malawi looking at the effect of fish oil on environmental enteropathy in children.  Upcoming work also includes evaluating the effect of resistant starch on zinc uptake.  We are also gearing up for a large study evaluating an alternative formula for ready-to-use supplementary food (RUSF) for moderately malnourished children; I was able to formulate and confirm acceptability of this food.  When possible, we try to formulate foods with functional ingredients and make use of locally available ingredients.   Furthermore, I have the opportunity to go to some of our ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF; for severely malnourished children) feeding clinics in Malawi and see the dramatic changes proper feeding can have on children.

I live in St. Louis, MO and travel often to Malawi for research.  In my free time, I enjoy exploring these new areas and meeting new people.  I like to work out, cook, and travel to visit friends and family.  

Where did you attend college?
I received my BS in Food Science and minor in Nutrition from the University of Minnesota.  I got my MS degree at Purdue University, and then I headed to NC State to pursue a Ph.D. in Food Science and obtain a Graduate Certificate in Public Policy and Certificate of Accomplishment in Teaching.

How did you get interested in food science?
In high school, I was interested in food and nutrition, but did not want to be a nutritionist.  A friend randomly introduced me to a scholarship program in Food Science at the University of Minnesota.  I was curious, so I started doing background research and visiting a few schools with Food Science programs.  What really attracted me to the field was a fascination with food chemistry and the possibility of getting to develop new and improved food products.  Also, I liked the idea of being responsible for feeding the world.  I liked the University of Minnesota and enrolled in Food Science as a freshman. 

How did IFT/IFTSA help you in your transition from student to professional?
First of all, my IFT network helped me get a job.  About a year and a half before I anticipated graduating for the last time, I really started informing my network of my career goals.  It was through one of my IFT mentors, Dr. Sheri Schellhaass, Past-President of IFT, that I found my current employer.  Once I moved to St. Louis, I sought out the local section of IFT to start meeting people and expanding my St. Louis network. Being involved in IFT has also helped me with my job – we do a lot of work with food companies and I already know a lot of people our group works with. 

Can you share any tips of success for students who might be entering the workforce for the first time?  
Have a good attitude and be open to new things, and everything will work out.   

Do you love trivia? Do you spout off food science facts to your friends? Do you embrace the term food geek? Then you should compete in the 2013 IFTSA College Bowl Competition!  This team competition tests your knowledge in all the disciplines of food science from food chemistry to microbiology to product development and all the areas in between.  The competition occurs in two stages, with the first competition being at your area meeting in the spring and the winners then advance on to the finals at the IFT Annual Meeting held this year in Chicago, IL July 13-16 2013.

Please visit http://www.ift.org/Community/Students/Competitions/College-Bowl.aspx  for a complete list of rules and good luck!!


  • The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans proposed a lower daily sodium intake recommendation than is currently consumed by the average American. What was the recommended intake?
  •  The SpectrumTM Descriptive Analysis method was developed by who?
  • In what year did the IFT Executive Committee establish the Student Association?


  • 2,300 mg per day
  •  Gail Vance Civille
  • 1982


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