What a year it has been! It’s time again to celebrate the amazing things going on at IFTSA chapters.
Spring is truly an epic time for IFTSA, as each area hosts its annual area meeting. These gatherings are not only a venue for students to battle it out in their area College Bowl competition, but also a chance for Official Food Geeks (OFGs) to mix and mingle with fellow students from other schools.
To culture healthy competitive spirits, many areas hosted fun games including “guess the scent” at the Midwest meeting and the “broke college kid meets Chopped” cooking challenge at the Pacific West meeting. Many other areas also hosted an Amazing Race style competition in honor of those #SweetScientists that recently tasted sweet victory in season 25 of the show.
Professional development was also on the menu at some meetings, with the North Atlantic area hosting a panel discussion on industry and academic success in food science. Students in the Central Atlantic area also had the chance to hear from Ed Kee, Cabinet Secretary of Agriculture for the State of Delaware!
But of course, socialization is also important- especially when you get a group of young food scientists together! The North Central Area hosted a mix and mingle event complete with music and dancing, the Midwest Area explored the local Columbus, Ohio food scene, and Central Atlantic enjoyed some delicious ice cream made fresh at the University of Delaware. Actually, pretty much everybody had ice cream- let’s face it, it would not be a food science meeting without it!
Another big highlight- this year, the Midwest and North Atlantic areas welcomed first-timer chapters, Wayne State University and McGill University, to their meetings.
A special thanks to all the kind sponsors that helped make these meetings possible!
This was just a taste of what went on in each Area this spring. It’s plain to see that IFTSA students everywhere are up to amazing things! Hope to see everyone at IFT15!
Thinking about attending your IFTSA Area Meeting next year? Make it into a fun trip like Oregon State did this year! Read about their adventure below (provided by Sarah Tensa).
3 days, 1150 miles, 2 industry tours, and 1 IFTSA Pac-West Area Meeting and College Bowl Competition later, the Oregon State University College Bowl Team returned home to Corvallis.
The trip started out at 5:15 am with the team and our cheering section climbing in the big white van and we were off. 20 minutes into the trip the driver and navigator received their caffeine jolt and hit I-5. We (being the driver and navigator) watched the sunrise over the Cascade Mountains while the rest of the van finished getting their full night of beauty sleep.
Jelly Belly was one of the pit stops on our list which was an experience in itself. From a food scientist point of view, we were able to follow the bean from start to finish and be in awe of the littlest things. However for the little kids inside all of us, we were so excited about everything from a group photo to the sample bar of ALL Jelly Belly’s. The experience was so enticing that we just had to stop back the following day after our tour at Anheuser-Busch.
During the IFT area meeting, we had the chance to test our skills in artistry during an impressionist painting activity inspired by UCD’s Wayne Thiebaud, a painter of cakes and pastries. We mixed our food science skills with our color palettes and drew fruit in different stages of consumption. We made four different stills of our fruit, each with an additional bite taken out of it. Most of us stuck to apples and pears, but the bravest attempted a tangelo, eating rind and all to get the perfect look for the painting.
Later in the evening, we were presented with a tour of the Food Science Department at UCD. We saw their brewing equipment, dairy processing lab, sensory lab and most importantly, the room where they store their highly prized wines. The UCD students told us about their community garden, centered between the two food science buildings. The students enjoy the fresh produce as a quick snack on their walk to class. We were able to see the sun set over the beautiful Davis vineyard, learn about their research, their relationship with the community, and the thriving food science department at UCD.
After saying our thank yous and goodbyes, we hit the road for the long drive home. We watched the sunset over the Pacific Coast Range. The trip made a full circle when we pulled up to Wiegand Hall in darkness just like when we left.
Perhaps someone can explain the regional break-down to me – there are a few dividing lines that seem to be pretty arbitrary. It’s not quite as bad as Reginald Perrin with a map…
First, why put Nebraska in with North Central, when UNL has a lot more to do with Kansas State than either Minnesota or UW-Madison? Granted, UNL’s and NDSU’s research programs have some points of common interest.
Second, unless IFTSA is extremely inclusive in terms of what one considers a “program,” the Mountain West just doesn’t seem to have the interest or the programs, except maybe for Cal-Obispo and University of Utah. Arizona’s a dead zone for food science. So’s Nevada. So’s Colorado. Las Cruces (New Mexico) has some sort of research on chiles, but I’m not sure they’re producing food scientists. And how is it that Hawaii (if I recall, UH has some ag programs but not food science) is somehow included? I guess the main unifying factor is that there are no major food science programs in the entire region, and it’s unlikely that any are going to emerge anytime soon.
Third, Louisiana is part of “Southeast” while Arkansas is part of “South Central?” Granted, Fayetteville is pretty close to both the Oklahoma and Missouri borders. I’d have thought that perhaps UArk has more in common with UG than either Texas Tech or Kansas State.
Thank you for your interest! You bring up a lot of good points about area lines. Last fall, IFTSA looked at how areas were distributed which led to a new distribution plan that will go into effect Sept 1, 2015. More information about this initiative can be found here: https://sciencemeetsfood.org/new-area-distribution-proposal-feedback-needed/
The important things that the task force took into consideration were the number of chapters in each area and the driving distance between chapters. With member and chapter leader feedback, we were able to come up with a new distribution plan.
There are specific requirements to be considered an IFTSA Chapter that can be found here: http://www.ift.org/community/students/chapters/how-to-become-a-chapter.aspx While there are many universities with food science programs, only those with official IFTSA chapters were considered in determining areas.
All of our chapters can be found here: http://www.ift.org/community/students/chapters/chapter-presidents.aspx
Thanks for your interest and feel free to reach out with any other questions!
Amy, thank you for replying, and for the information.
From the link you provided, I see that Kansas and Nebraska are proposed to be in the same area, as are Louisiana and Arkansas. Not sure it makes all that much sense to lump CO in south-central, though, for reasons of logistics if nothing else – then again, I’m not sure CO has any programs to speak of.
Somehow I find it disturbing that most of the Mountain West states (from Arizona-New Mexico on up to Montana) really don’t have any programs in food science, except for Idaho and Utah… I guess that’s an aftereffect of WICHE / WRGP.