By: John Gleeson
Chicago didn’t know what hit it when thousands of food scientists appeared wide eyed and bushy tailed ready for IFT15. The convention floor was bustling with more colourful* food samples than you could possible eat, and of course, plenty of future employers to have a chat with over ice-cream, sweet tea or popcorn. Seriously though, I think I had at least 5 different seasonings on popcorn. I was glad I brought business cards, and was even more surprised companies actually wanted my details. They are actually interested in up-and-coming scientists!
The student lounge always had a friendly face and new contact to make. I personally tried to learn everyone’s school mascot. We won’t mention which school won the title of “Most Boring Mascot”, but feel free to speculate in the comments or send your guesses to @IFT_SA. In our student haven, the VPs of IFT Relations (old and new) put together a really informative package for the Chapter Leaders Workshop (CLW). There was also networking events, free coffee and places to charge your phones! Definitely worth a visit next year.
The competitions were a hard fought battle, and it was amazing seeing people bust out incredibly complex bacterial names (hat tip to OSU’s John Frelka) or explain how to overcome a nutty flavour* in an insect based falafel mix. Many times I felt ridiculously unknowledgeable in comparison to these Food Science Gladiators!
In particular, McGill University flexed some serious product development muscles and took home 1st place in the Mars Product Development Competition and 1st place (Domestic) in the Developing Solutions for Developing Countries Competition. The battle of the brains came down to The Ohio State University (I’m told the “the” is very important) vs North Carolina State. Interestingly it pit the IFTSA incoming President Elect against the outgoing Past-President. The wolfpack took home the title, until next year Buckeyes!
The incoming IFTSA Board of Directors (BoD) met and we’re all hoping to help IFTSA grow and be even more fantastic than it currently is. That’s a hard task but if anyone can do it, it’s this bunch of delightful folk! And besides, the BoD now have the luck of the Irish (me!)! One of the things we are very excited to announce is the virtual IFTSA Global Summit happening Tuesday, November 10, 2015, 2-4pm CST! We’re condensing the fun and developmental aspects of IFT into an online experience so we can all join from school or at home in your PJs!
If all of this sounds amazing and you too want to experience it… Fear not, IFT16 will be hitting Chicago’s McCormick Place again July 16–19, 2016! You too could take a sweet selfie in front of our awesome photo wall like President Amy DeJong and President-Elect Matt Teegarden. If you’re curious what IFT15 was like check out the welcome video below.
*Warning this post may contain trace amounts of u’s where you might not expect them, like colour or flavour. It’s not my fault, it’s how we do things this side of the pond.