Margaret A . Lawson

By the time you read this issue of Food Technology, 18,000 high schools nationwide will have received food science career information and science curriculum from IFT and Discovery Education. Thousands of science department chairs and school counselors are sharing these multimedia resource kits, The Science and Scientists Behind the Food and Careers in Food Science, with high school students and their parents.

The multimedia kits for science teachers contain six standards-based food science lessons and experiments, a teacher’s resource guide, a classroom poster, and a DVD on food safety, food for astronauts, food chemistry, and more.

The school counselor multimedia resource kit highlights grants and scholarships available to students (including a listing of IFT-approved university food science undergraduate programs), professional job descriptions and salaries, and a classroom poster. It also includes a DVD featuring candid remarks from our members (both professional and students) on why they chose food science and their careers paths. The videos were shot at last year’s Annual Meeting + FOOD EXPO® in New Orleans.

In addition, a 30-minute food science program and a 30-second public service announcement will air on the Discovery Channel four times this spring (2/3, 3/10, 4/14, 5/19). The program, featuring IFT material enhanced with on-screen curricula written by teachers, will run on the commercial-free Assignment Discovery program and may be taped by educators for use in the classroom for up to one year. Assignment Discovery airs on the Discovery Channel at 5-6 am ET/PT, 4-5 am CT, and 6-7 am MT.

IFT and Discovery Education are also offering these food science resources online for all science teachers to download. These free materials can be accessed at

Additional science teacher resources are available at (follow the Education link), including two videos, 14 food science experiments with teacher and students activity guides, and a comprehensive listing of local food scientists as a reference for students and teachers. Also available on the IFT Web site, counselors may download online resources that highlight the expanding job opportunities for science students in the food science and technology industry, access college curriculum requirements, and introduce students to online interviews with industry professionals.

Throughout our active partnership with Discovery over the past year, many members of IFT have expressed their enthusiastic support and commitment to this exciting new program. Countless members have reflected on their paths to food science, recognizing that their own introductions to food science were not conventional.

As an IFT Foundation board member, Al Clausi, Past President of IFT from 1993 to 1994, is actively involved in the fundraising efforts for IFT career guidance initiatives.

A longtime active member of IFT, this 40-year food industry veteran discovered his career by accident. After leaving the Navy, Al accepted a position at General Foods as a junior chemist in what he thought would be a temporary job while awaiting admission to medical school. But a year later he loved what he was doing so much that he passed up medical school. He retired from General Foods 18 years ago as Senior Vice President and Chief Research Officer, Worldwide.

While he was IFT President, Al visited nearly every IFT section and was asked to make remarks. After his comments he would ask, “How many of you knew before college that you would pursue a food science career?” He always received a small showing of hands. Then he would ask, “How many of you learned about food science after you were in college?” Nearly everyone would raise their hands.

Let’s think about our future generations. Will they identify food science as a viable profession? The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that there will not be a sufficient number of graduates between now and the year 2010 to satisfy the need for people in the food and agricultural sciences. At the same time, we have thousands of young people at the high school and even middle school levels wondering about which meaningful career to pursue.

I invite you to join us in further educating those who will carry our profession forward. If you feel as we do, that it is important to make young people aware of food science as a fulfilling and rewarding career, visit the Foundation area of to join us in supporting A Taste for Science.

Important projects like Discovery could not be made possible without the commitment and leadership of our member volunteers. Please remember to vote for your next volunteer leaders in the upcoming national IFT election, beginning March 1, 2006.

by Margaret A. Lawson,
IFT President, 2005–06
Technical Services Manager,
T. Hasegawa USA, Cerritos, Calif.
[email protected]