IFTSA Leadership Nominations

The IFTSA Nominating Committee is pleased to announce the slate of candidates for the IFTSA 2021–2022 President-elect and the IFTSA Board of Directors has been approved. Each of these student members have a unique background and experience and are excited and ready to continue progressing the science of food for everybody in the year ahead.

The individuals listed below will begin serving in the roles indicated on September 1, 2021.

IFT Student Association Board of Directors
Incoming Officers (2021–2022)


Cameron (CJ) Wicks, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Cameron Wicks is a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, studying the effect of polyphenols on ice cream structure and properties. After learning that she wanted to be a food scientist in the sixth grade, Cameron credits her success to the foundational help IFT provided in making this educational and career choice. She had the chance to participate in College Bowl while pursuing her BS in Food Science at Purdue University and previously served as chair of the Graduate Research Video Competition and IFTSA’s Vice President of Volunteer Development. For fun, she loves practicing her cake and cookie decorating skills and watching a good Broadway musical.

Vice President of Chapter Engagement

Luuvan Hoang, Washington State University
Luuvan Hoang is presently a student at Washington State University and is working towards, at least, a master’s degree in Food Science. After several years of working in many industries, he discovered his passion for food production while working information technology at Ellenos Greek Yogurt. Shortly afterwards, he enrolled in school to study food science and food engineering. He loves production scale machines and hopes to work in technical services. Luuvan currently serves as the Vice President of Membership Engagement on the IFTSA Board of Directors and looks forward to continuing to serve the organization.

Vice President of Competitions

Abigail Sommer, The Ohio State University
Abbie Sommer is a PhD student at The Ohio State University researching omega-3 functional foods. She completed her master’s degree also at Ohio State and bachelor’s at Purdue University, all in Food Science. She served as College Bowl chair for two years and is also a writer for the IFTSA blog, Science Meets Food.

Vice President of Digital and Social Media

Jacob Webster-Jones, Texas A&M University
Jacob is an undergraduate Food Science student at Texas A&M University. He learned about food science in the first grade while on a field trip to C.H. Guenther’s R&D laboratory and knew from that point that he wanted to be a food scientist. Jacob has served as secretary and president for his school’s IFTSA chapter, as well as for the IFTSA blog, Science Meets Food. One of Jacob’s priorities in his day-to-day life is to spread food science knowledge to the public and share his passion for the science of food.

Vice President of Membership Engagement

Viral Shukla, Michigan State University
Viral is a science of food activist. At his undergraduate university, Viral served in roles from peer advisor to president of various student organizations. For IFTSA, he has served as an Area Meeting Chair, Competition Chair, and Vice President of Chapter Engagement. Viral works to connect students, help them develop themselves, and support them in their goals. In his free time, Viral loves to geek out over food trivia. He enjoys his 1,3,7-Trimethylxanthine with cream and sugar.

Vice President of Volunteer Development

Bababode Adesegun Kehinde, University of Kentucky
Bababode Kehinde is a juvenile researcher who, through his co-authored publications, has advocated for the awareness in supply of functional foods and nutraceuticals as suitable therapies for management of bodily disorders. Bababode has been actively participatory with IFT since he joined. He has served as a Tier-1 reviewer for session proposals. Currently, he is a graduate student research assistant it the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Kentucky. He also holds a Bachelor of Technology in Food Engineering from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology in Nigeria and a MSc. In Food Science and Technology from Lovely Professional University in India.

Member-at-Large Positions

Jennifer Lee Goza, The Pennsylvania State University
Jennifer Goza is a PhD candidate in Food Science and International Agriculture and Development at The Pennsylvania State University, where she studies the applications and efficacy of novel flavor encapsulation systems using sensory and instrumental methods. She enjoys hiking and testing out new recipes in her spare time.

Maria (Laura) Rolon, The Pennsylvania State University
Laura Rolon received her BS in Food Science and Technology from University of Buenos Aires and obtained her MS in Food Science from The Pennsylvania State University. She worked in her home country for the National Dairy Research Institute as a product developer, creating new dairy products for the Argentinian dairy industry. She also held an instructor position at the Technological University in Uruguay, where she taught courses related to dairy processing. Laura is currently a PhD candidate pursuing a dual-title degree in Food Science and International Agriculture and Development, studying environmental microbiomes to improve food safety in food processing facilities, and currently serves on the IFTSA Board of Directors as a Member-at-Large.

Julia Schmidt, Purdue University
Julia Schmidt is a food science major and nutrition minor currently completing her senior year at Purdue University. She plans to attend graduate school afterwards, where she hopes to study the intersection between food chemistry and sensory science. Julia currently serves as IFTSA Vice President of Competitions and is eager to continue serving the IFTSA in any way she can.

Caroline Solloway, University of Arkansas
Caroline Solloway is currently pursuing a BS in Food Science Technology at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. As an undergraduate student, she is exploring the diverse areas that food science offers. She is most interested in working on the creative side of product development, sustainability in packaging, and sensory evaluation. She believes that first-hand experience is vital and interns as a production associate for a local company that produces natural nut butters. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, painting, volunteering at local food banks, and taste testing all the flavors of peanut butter from her job.


Nominations Process and Timeline

The nomination process is outlined in the IFT Student Association Bylaws. Candidates submitting their applications by December 20, 2020 were vetted by the Nominating Committee and announced to student members on February 26, 2021 after which voting members had until March 15, 2021 to submit additional nominations to the Nominating Committee. Such nominations must be supported by a written petition signed by at least 2 percent, or 48 students, of IFTSA’s eligible voting members. Of those members, not more than 33 percent, or 16 students, may be identified with any one university.
As no additional nominations were received, the slate of candidates was adopted. The incoming IFTSA Board of Directors will begin the new term on September 1, 2021.

Please forward any questions about the slate, petition process, or the online election to Amy Clarke Sievers, staff liaison to IFTSA.


IFTSA Volunteer Leadership Roles

IFTSA President-Elect

Student members serving in this role make a three-year commitment to lead IFTSA through the Office of the President in the roles of President-Elect, IFTSA President, and Past President, as well as serve on the IFT Board of Directors. Additionally, the IFTSA Past President serves as an ex-officio member of the Feeding Tomorrow Board of Trustees.

IFTSA Board of Directors

The IFTSA Board of Directors works to create and execute all IFTSA programming each year. Serving one-year terms, these student members have direct responsibility for competitions, chapters, membership experience, volunteer development, as well as IFTSA’s blog Science Meets Food and our Facebook and Instagram channels.

IFTSA-Appointed Positions

Annually, the IFTSA Office of the President appoints a number of volunteers to IFTSA roles and recommends students to other arms of the organization. The IFTSA roles include Competition Chairs, Area Meeting Chairs, the Science Meets Food Blog Editor, and Social Media Manager.

What is a nomination? Does someone have to nominate me for an IFTSA leadership position?

Nomination refers to a self-nomination, so if you are excited about leadership positions in IFTSA, you should submit your name and application materials!

How does the nominations process work in IFTSA?

Each year, the Nominating Committee selects a slate of students to fill each position on the IFTSA Board of Directors as well as Competition Chairs. The Nominating Committee will interview applicants to understand how their interests and skill sets best fit within IFTSA. From there, the Nominating Committee will determine the slate (the selection of students it recommends for each board position). This slate is then advertised to the IFTSA membership. Members have two weeks to petition the slate if they do not agree with the nominees.

IFTSA recently moved to a slate process in order to ensure diversity on the Board of Directors. It is also critical that each position on the board remains strategic and that a well-rounded, diverse group of students is selected that have the ability to accomplish all of the tasks they’re assigned.

What is the timeline for applying for and being selected for an IFTSA volunteer position?

Self-nominations open on November 20, 2020 and close on December 20, 2020. Candidates will then be interviewed by the Nominating Committee in January and February 2021, and the final slate will be presented to IFTSA members on March 1, 2021.

How much time do IFTSA leaders spend on their positions?

The time spend on work related to IFTSA leadership positions varies week to week and by position. Vice Presidents and Members at Large may spend an average of 3-5 hours per week on their roles. Competition Chairs and Appointed Volunteers may spend approximately 1-3 hours per week on their roles, with higher time commitment closer to the IFT Annual Event. The President-Elect, President, and Immediate Past President roles can be rather time-intensive, thus candidates for these roles must have superior ability to balance schoolwork with volunteer activities.

What do Vice Presidents and Members-at-Large do?

Vice Presidents (VPs) and Members-at-Large execute key programming initiatives and work with the IFTSA Office of the President to set goals related to the strategic direction of the organization. For VPs, these goals are within the scope of their positions as described in the operations manual. Members at Large typically work on emerging initiatives, and they also provide additional perspective on the Board of Directors. In all, the Board of Directors is responsible for coming up with creative ways to continue to serve the IFTSA membership.

What do Competition Chairs do?

Competition chairs work with the VP of Competitions to manage each of the IFTSA competitions. They are responsible for answering questions from participants, selecting and working with competition judges, and managing all aspects of the competitions at the IFT Annual Event.


Do you have questions or comments you'd like to share about the changes to IFT Student Association Board of Directors structure and nominating process? Email IFTSA’s staff liaison Amy Clarke Sievers or Nominating Committee Chair Sam VanWees.

The online nominations form will be available beginning November 20, 2020. The nominating period will end December 20, 2020. Get a head start on your nomination by previewing the questions below! In addition to answering these questions, the Nominations Committee also requires a short resume from each nominee.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and why you are interested in a volunteer leadership position with IFTSA through the following questions:

General Information

  • Name
  • IFT member number
  • Current university/institution
  • University/institution you will be attending in 2021–2022
  • Degree you are currently seeking
  • Program of study
  • Country
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • What is your expected graduation date?
  • What are your plans after graduation?


  • Please select the Board of Directors and/or Appointed positions that you are most interested in and explain why.
  • What unique perspectives will you bring to IFTSA leadership if you are selected?
  • Would you like more information on task force and work group involvement as they become available?

Related Experiences

  • Please describe any activity or leadership experience that you think will support you in your role.

Resume, Headshot, and Bio

  • Please upload a brief resume for review by the nominations committee.
  • Please upload your most recent headshot. This will only be utilized if you are part of the nominated slate.
  • Please provide a short bio of yourself that will be posted with the slate if you are nominated.