When the pandemic put communities across the country on lockdown last year, teachers were challenged to find new ways to engage the attention and curiosity of their students. For Keri Dean, a seventh and eighth grade science teacher at Seabrook Science Magnet School in Seabrook, Texas, the shift to a virtual environment meant stepping up her game.
Never one to shy away from challenges, Dean, who began her career as a language arts and social studies teacher and switched to math and science for “the change and challenge of it,” reached out to Vickie Kloeris, IFT president-elect and a retired NASA food scientist. Kloeris, says Dean, “encouraged me to look into the IFT educational resources to enhance my Future Food Science course.” Dean found the materials “vast and all encompassing,” as well as a great way to transition into online and hybrid teaching. “Most recently,” she says, “I had my students use the Virtual Ice Cream Production Field Trip. They loved it! We connected this with our in-class experiences and eventually created and crafted our own ice cream recipes based on this module.”
IFT’s materials, which were developed as part of Feeding Tomorrow’s commitment to nurturing interest in the science of food (see sidebar), allowed Dean to find a new way to stimulate curiosity in her classroom. “It is imperative that to ‘hook’ my students, that I always keep them wondering what will come next, what will happen next, and how it’s all connected and important,” she explains. “If the students see that you love and enjoy what you do, they will ‘Thrive with your vibe.’ I want them not only to remember me, but what they learned and how much fun they had learning it. COVID and virtual learning has made this challenging, but not impossible. It has forced me to explore new and different resources and delivery methods.”
With the 2021 schoolyear marking the end of her 30-year teaching career, Dean stands as an example to her students that curiosity is ageless, and the rewards to be reaped from exploring new activities, interests, and approaches to learning are without bounds. “Teaching is evolving,” she says, “and we must evolve with it, and embrace the changes and challenges. Approach every day with an open mind and an open heart. Students need new and different challenges. Find experts and reach out. The more experiences we provide, the richer and more ‘real’ the content becomes.”
Busta honored for distinguished service
Food Safety Magazine honored former IFT president Frank Busta with the magazine’s Distinguished Service Award at the 2021 Food Safety Summit. Busta is director emeritus of the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, now the Food Protection & Defense Institute, and professor emeritus of food microbiology at the University of Minnesota.
A renowned expert who has published more than 125 refereed research papers, Busta’s areas of research have been food safety, growth, and survival of microorganisms after environmental stress in food, microbial ecology, and food defense. In 2017, IFT honored him with the Myron Solberg Award, and in 2003, he received the Calvert L. Willey Distinguished Service Award.
As an educator, Busta held faculty positions at the University of Minnesota, North Carolina State University, and the University of Florida. From 1984 to 1987, he served as chair of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Florida, and from 1987 to 1997, he was head of the Department of Food Science & Nutrition at the University of Minnesota.
In addition to being named a Fellow of IFT in 1982, Busta has also been honored as a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM), the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST, in the United Kingdom), the International Association for Food Protection, and the Academy of the International Union of Food Science and Technology.
Busta received his BA and MSc degrees from the University of Minnesota and his PhD from the University of Illinois. He is a Certified Food Scientist, a Reg-istered Scientist (IFST), and a Registered Specialist in Food, Dairy, and Sanitation Microbiology (National Registry of Microbiologists, AAM).
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