By: Kate Sweitzer
As student members of IFT, we are often involved only in our local chapter or possibly with the IFTSA leadership, but how many of us explore the rest of IFT? Graduate students may be aware of the many divisions in IFT because of poster competition submissions, but do we really know what the divisions have to offer?
During my 2nd IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo in New Orleans last summer, I decided to attend the Marketing and Management Division’s annual meeting at the conference. I was confused as to how the divisions operated within IFT and exactly what a Marketing and Management division would be doing within IFT as a whole.
What I found was a very hospitable group of professionals from different areas of the food industry, from consulting to product development. They welcomed me into their fold and were excited to hear from a student’s perspective. Since that time, I have taken on the role as student representative for the division. As such, I have been able to increase the awareness of student programs, such as the informative presentation series called the Marketing and Management Roadshow and the new poster competition. The experience has greatly supplemented my IFT experience.
You might be aware that there has been restructuring within IFT lately, as divisions no longer have individually paid dues. This has meant new procedures for the divisions, but has opened doors to explore any area you may be interested in. For example, have you checked out the possibilities within Sensory and Consumer Sciences? Or what about Fruit and Vegetable Products? There is Food Law & Regulations too. The list goes on, totaling 25 divisions (you can check them out at http://www.ift.org/community/divisions.aspx). Each is set up somewhat differently, with various events and levels of activity.
If you have not looked into Divisions within IFT, now is the time to do it. Make the most of your student membership and make connections with those who share in your passion for a certain area of the industry.
Are you involved in an IFT Division? If so, tell us more about it. If not, which divisions are of interest to you?