Section of the Month: May 2013

Great Lakes Section IFT

Interview with Andrea Gerstle, Secretary, Great Lakes Section IFT

What’s new with the Great Lakes Section IFT?
The section is very happy to announce the launch of our brand new and greatly improved website!  We have received great feedback on the new look and easy use menu’s and the leadership team is enjoying the time-saving built in features. We’d like to thank IFT for partnering with us and providing support.  Check it out at

The Great Lakes IFT Job Shadow program is in its third year this summer and has expanded to include students from two universities.  This program offers students a chance to experience the day of a food scientist without a long term commitment.  Students of the section expressed that there are not always internships available or that timing for a full internship is not always conducive to their academic schedule.  Job shadowing offers students a glimpse into many different aspects of the food industry.  We are happy to have seven different companies sponsoring students this summer.

The Great Lakes Section IFT is also proud to be a member of IFT’s Section Pilot Program, which has offered us a chance to communicate with our section continuously throughout the year as well as increase our section membership significantly!  

What events or activities do you have coming up?

Great Lakes Section IFTWe just hosted our Annual Suppliers’ Day with over 150 vendors exhibiting and a large increase in attendance this year. The always popular wine dinner that follows the day was at capacity with 200 people in attendance!

The section is proud to be a sponsor of the IFTSA Fun Run at the Annual Meeting and is excited to be organizing a team for the run for the 1st time complete with section T-Shirts! 

Coming up this summer, we have our Annual Golf Outing on July 31st, and final section meeting touring an Innovation Grid within the state of MI which involves two of our section’s food companies is in the works!  Visit our website for more details on all of our upcoming events.

What are you doing to plan for 2013-2014?
Our section is excited to be initiating a new outreach program to help teachers and students in Michigan understand and experience the exciting field of food science and technology.  A new committee has been formed to utilize resources from IFT’s Food Science Ambassadors program as well as existing Future Farmers of America activities to reach middle school and high school students.  If any other sections have similar outreach programs we would love to hear about your activities and learn from your experience.
This year we joined the IFT election cycle and our members were able to vote for IFT and section leadership at the same time, which was very easy! Our new leadership team will take office in August. We will hold a transition meeting where we will pass along information to our new leaders, set priorities for the upcoming year, and brainstorm ideas to make our section run more efficiently. Many of our newly elected officers are planning to attend the Strategic Leadership Forum in July at the Annual Meeting, which we hope will jump start our planning for the upcoming year!