Taking the Leap: My Experience as an IFTSA Leader

Taking the Leap: My Experience as an IFTSA Leader

By Michael Diehl (IFTSA Immediate Past President)

I like long walks on the beach and free stuff…oh wait. We’re talking about the privilege it has been to serve on the IFTSA Board of Directors for the past 4 years. Right! Here goes.

On my first day of undergrad, my academic advisor told me to join our Food Science Club because, 1) they serve free food at every meeting, and 2) it would kick start my career in the science of food. Through the Texas A&M University Food Science Club, I discovered IFTSA. As a student in the science of food, there were several opportunities to get involved in research and initiatives at the university level. However, my involvement as a student member of IFT gave me the platforms to interact with a broader group of peers and professionals.

During my senior year, I decided to apply for a leadership position on the IFTSA Board of Directors. At first, I was hesitant, I had only interacted with IFT with my chapter and section. At the time my university did not have any students who were IFTSA volunteers. Do I have the right experiences and knowledge? Can I ace the interview? Will this position take up a lot of my free time?

Well, I did it. I took the leap and applied.

In taking this leap, I have been able to network with my fellow IFTSA leaders around the globe, as well as the IFT board members and professionals. I have been able to develop my presentation, strategic planning, and leadership skills. I have been able to have fun with a community that shares the same passions in the science of food. IFTSA helped me find my passion and decide where I wanted to attend graduate school. Looks like my academic advisor was right all those years ago; because of IFT, I feel ready for my next leap – my career.

I can’t imagine my time as a student in the science of food without thinking about IFTSA. If you’re considering one of the leadership positions, I encourage you to take the leap. Apply!

The nomination period for the 2023-2024 student leadership positions is officially open and will end on January 6, 2023. Being a leader of the IFT Student Association is an excellent opportunity for students to develop their soft skills and build connections with professionals and peers in the science of food.


Descriptions of available appointments are outlined in our IFTSA Operations Manual.


Frequently asked questions and application materials can be found on our website.

If you missed the information session, view the recorded session 


Science Meets Food

The IFT Student Association (IFTSA) is a forward-looking, student-governed community of IFT members. Through competitions, scholarships, networking, and leadership opportunities, you’ll set yourself apart from your classmates (unless they’re members too).

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