As the global population grows, the world needs creative, passionate minds engaged in the challenge of creating a safe, nutritious, and sustainable food supply. IFT’s Feeding Tomorrow Fund exists to help meet this need, empowering the next generation to pursue their interests in the vital field of food science. The fund provides internship, volunteer, and mentorship opportunities, but it also offers critical scholarship support for promising students pursuing food science careers.
One of our scholarship recipients, Lily Saad, is a senior at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she studies food science and nutrition and serves as president of the IFT Student Association chapter. Saad, a first-generation Lebanese American who speaks both Arabic and English, shared: “Feeding Tomorrow makes its scholarships available to those possessing a wide range of backgrounds, research interests, and goals. It is very inclusive.” Below, Saad tells us more about how she chose food science as a career and the passion that continues to drive her.
When and how did you get interested in food science?
All during high school, my dream job was to become a criminal psychologist/criminal defense attorney. That changed during my senior year, just when I was applying to colleges. I took an environmental science class, and the textbook had a chapter that discussed evolving food systems and the environmental impacts on them. The part that really piqued my interest discussed regulatory systems—how bottled water is regulated by the FDA but tap water is regulated by the EPA. I was fascinated by that. The very same day, I changed my major to food science or nutrition on every college application. I began reading more about how food regulatory systems work and about how public health relates to food. I started to feel more strongly about issues like food deserts and foodborne illnesses.
Tell us about your plans—where would you like the field of food science to take you?
I would like to be involved in food and nutrition policy. I am concerned with the many nutrition challenges in the world, especially in low-income communities that experience food insecurity. I’m also troubled by the ongoing issue of foodborne illnesses. Many professionals in the field are trying to tackle these issues, but there is so much more work to be done. My dream is to work with policymakers to improve food security and to represent individuals who have been affected by foodborne illness. I want to connect public health, policy, nutrition, and food science.
What has your Feeding Tomorrow scholarship meant to you?
Being able to attend UMass, Amherst has opened up so many opportunities in food science and allowed me to work with amazing professors who have helped me both inside and outside of the research lab through support and mentorship. I credit all of my progress and knowledge to their guidance and encouragement. I have been lucky and blessed to receive a Feeding Tomorrow scholarship and am so grateful to all of the donors.
Why should someone support Feeding Tomorrow—what are the benefits to students like you?
As a first-generation American and a first-gen college student, I was nervous about navigating higher education. Feeding Tomorrow, as well as my participation in IFTSA, have helped me immensely on this path. I feel like there are people in my corner cheering for me—and for all of us students—empowering us to excel. By supporting Feeding Tomorrow, you truly are supporting the next generation of food scientists who want to make a difference.
Help us build the science of food talent pipeline. Give to Feeding Tomorrow today!