By: Emily Wolter
Are you involved in professional organizations within your field? For food scientists, IFT (and the student association, IFTSA) is a great organization, which appeals to the wide variety of fields within food science.
If you aren’t involved with IFT and/or another organization pertinent to your field you are truly missing out. This article agrees with me. One of their top 5 reasons for involvement is to pad your resume and I hear this reasoning from many students, as well. However, in my opinion, shiny resumes are more like the cherry on top of the big ice cream sundae of involvement.
Let me explain…
As a beginning student member of IFT about 5 years ago, I was merely a student chapter leader who attended the regional college bowl meeting and met a wide array of students. Many years later, some of these very students have connected me with potential job opportunities as I begin to make the transition into a professional IFT member.
I transitioned from a chapter leader to involvement on a national level as a Fun Run committee member, raising money for scholarships! Once again, I met so many people and helped a great cause. The following year, I was nominated for an IFTSA Board position and give the responsibilities of Vice President of Development and Communications. As a board member, I had the opportunity to travel more often and attend meetings to expand my knowledge and network base. Furthermore, my involvement with IFT has provided me access to a number of awards from the Excellence in Leadership Award to Feeding Tomorrow Scholarship Awards. As if that wasn’t enough, IFT has given me opportunities to experiment in the world of product development through their wide array of competitions. Lastly, this past week at the IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo, IFT gave me the opportunity to present my research and share my hard work with so many people through a poster presentation. All along the way during these past 5 years, I have exponentially increased the number of meaningful relationships I have with other colleagues and mentors in the food industry.
So in the end, involvement with an organization, such as IFT, makes your resume pop out a little more, sure; but it’s the experiences and relationships that truly make it all worthwhile.
What’s your top reason for being an IFT student member?