Past Authors

Chloe Calhoun| Linkedin

IFTSA VP of Digital and Social Media (2022-2023)

I am Chloe Calhoun, a food science undergraduate at the University of Nebraska. I am passionate about food science and have an interest in food microbiology. In my free time I enjoy working out, baking, and any outdoor activity.

Tara L. Pickens | Linkedin

SMF Blog Manager (2022-2023)

Tara graduated from a small, urban research university, Youngstown State University, with a BSc in Biochemistry and a MSc in Chemistry. She’s always been passionate about food, health, and wellness and her mother’s chronic gastrointestinal illness drove her to learn more about functional foods and ingredients. Tara is currently in her last semester of her PhD at The Pennsylvania State University in the Food Science Department, where she works in the lab of Dr. Darrell Cockburn, and explores the metabolic capacity of human gut isolates. She aspires to continue doing research in the gut microbiome space after conferral of her PhD. When not doing lab work, Tara enjoys collaborating with other members of their start-up company, Unbaked Flour Co., which produces synbiotic, allergen-free snacks or breakfast-on-the-go products that support gut health. During her non-work time, she enjoys outdoors activities like biking, hiking, and running. And of course, cooking and eating!

Jacob Webster-Jones | Linkedin

IFTSA VP of Digital and Social Media (2021-2022)

Jacob found his passion for food science while on an elementary school field trip to a R&D lab in San Antonio, Texas. Since then he has been interested in why food behaves the way it does and how it can be used to improve people’s quality of life. He is currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Food Science & Technology from Texas A&M University and is the current president of his school’s food science club and IFTSA chapter. After he graduates, Jacob plans on going to work for a few years before returning to start a graduate degree, his ultimate goal is to work in research and development for a flavor company. On the off chance he has free time you can find him experimenting in the kitchen or enjoying the outdoors.

Elliot Dhuey | Linkedin

SMF Blog Manager (2020-2022)

Elliot graduated with his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison with a degree in Food Science and Technology. He then graduated with his M.S. in Food Science from The Ohio State University in a food packaging lab and he is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Food Science. His research focuses on optimizing canned food packaging to ensure food security for future generations. During Elliot’s free time he enjoys being a micro-hobbyist (enjoys activities that occupy his time for hours to weeks and then moves on to a completely new activity). He explores home fermentations of various products, trying the newest breakfast cereals, beer tasting, wine tasting, and discovering new restaurants. Lastly, his passion extends beyond food and the security of it, he enjoys conversations about justice and equity for everyone and how we can holistically remedy cycles of injustice and poverty.

A.J. Taylor

A.J. Taylor | Linkedin

Senior SMF Blog Writer

A.J. earned his degree in Biochemistry from Judson University and his Master’s in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  His research then focused on Listeria monocytogenes, but has now transitioned into a Ph.D. program at UIUC in the hopes to discover more about the cocoa bean fermentation process using genomic, bioinformatic, and biochemical tools to define chocolate flavor from start to finish.  A.J. emphasizes on the importance of science communication and loves to discuss multiple topics in the Food Science realm.  A.J. is also an avid gamer from board games to video games, as well as a podcast-lover, if you have any recommendations, he is all ears!

Abbey Thiel

Abbey Thiel | Linkedin

Senior SMF Blog Writer

Abbey discovered that food science was a real major while attending University of Wisconsin-Madison, and quickly transferred into the department. After graduating with a B.S. in food science, she decided to stay in Madison to pursue her PhD. Her research explores the fat network found within ice cream, and yes, there’s lots of ice cream parties! If not found sitting at a microscope for extended amounts of time, Abbey enjoys the great Midwestern sport of log rolling (Google it) and laughing really loud. She is also very busy passing on her passion for food science to her two-year-old niece, whose favorite color is bacon and has hopes of growing up to be soup.

Ming Yin Kwong

Ming Yin Kwong | Linkedin

SMF Blog Writer

Ming graduated with her B.S. in Chemistry at University of California, Davis. Internship opportunities with Mi Rancho and UC Davis Olive Center made her realized her passion for Food Science. She decided to stay at UC Davis for her Ph.D. in Food Science, with a research focus on tea chemistry. When she is not crushing tea leaves or developing HPLC methods in the laboratory, Ming enjoys working out to balance the extra calories that she consumes, traveling with friends and family, watching cooking shows, and playing video games.


Aishwarya Badiger | Linkedin

SMF Blog Writer

Originally from India, Aishwarya is now a PhD Candidate at The Ohio State University studying compounds generated in milk during storage and their sensory perception. The goal of her research is to improve existing shelf-life depicting techniques as an alternative to date labels known to promote food waste. She is passionate about building a sustainable food system and hopes to use her food science skills to continue this effort in the food industry after graduation. In her free time, she likes experimenting in the kitchen with new cuisines (if only someone else could clean), reading fiction, volunteering with food recovery, and occasionally painting.

Hafida Mazoud| Linkedin

SMF Blog Writer

Hafida became interested in food safety and majored in Food Science after experiencing life-threatening food poisoning. She has a Master’s degree in Food Safety and Quality Management as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Food Technologies from the Faculty of Science and Technology in Morocco. She later moved to the United Kingdom, where she pursued a second Master’s degree in Food Science and Innovation from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Hafida’s research focuses on evaluating the influence of sensory attributes such as colour on consumers acceptance of various food products like herbal tea. Hafida is a native Tamazight speaker (North African indigenous language) who also speaks Arabic, English and French. She is eager to write about topics involving food innovation, security and sovereignty.

She is currently a food consultant at the Global Diversity Foundation, where she works with rural food entrepreneurs in the High Atlas region. She is co-founder of Triple E: Educate, Empower, Exchange, an initiative that promotes the right to access information by teaching young Moroccan students how to find and apply for scholarships.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her nephews and niece, going on long walks, playing video games, and cooking while listening to music.

Allison Howell | Linkedin

SMF Blog Writer

Allison Howell is a PhD student in Food Science and Technology at The Ohio State University. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology and minors in Pharmaceutical Science and Health, Environment, Risk, and Science Communication also from The Ohio State University. Her research focuses on understanding how consumers make decisions about food safety, and how government and non-profit organizations can create policies for balancing risks across food safety, food security, and food waste. Allison loves to bake and is always researching and trying out new swaps to make recipes more allergy and dietary restriction-friendly

Cassandra Maya | Linkedin

SMF Blog Writer

Cassandra earned a B.S. in Food Science and Technology from Cal Poly Pomona and a M.S. in Nutritional Science from San Diego State University. As a ‪Marie Skłodowska-Curie PhD fellow at the University of Copenhagen, Cassandra researches the nutrition and acceptability of alternative proteins, but is especially a fan of edible insects. In the future, Cassandra hopes to teach and foster kittens.



Ciera Castillo | LinkedinCiera Castillo

Former IFTSA VP of Digital and Social Media (2020-2021)

Ciera was born and raised in Aggieland so naturally she bleeds maroon. She obtained her B.S. in Food Science and Technology from Texas A&M University and wasn’t quite ready to leave tailgating and football season so she started her M.S. in Animal Science with a focus in meat and sensory science. Her research involves understanding how consumers from four different classes of mouth behavior eat beef that varies in tenderness and texture and evaluating relationships that exist among them. Ciera has always had a passion for food, so much so that she once won a kids BBQ cook-off competition! When she is not working in the lab, you can find her binge-watching 90 day fiancé on TLC (seriously, it’s like the best show on TV), creating recipes, listening to podcasts, or playing trivia.

Mirai Miura

Mirai Miura | Linkedin 

Former Social Media Manager (2020-2021)

Mirai is currently completing her B.S. in Food Science and Technology at the University of California, Davis. As the Vice President for Food Tech Club (IFTSA Chapter for Davis), she assists the President and other officers with operation and deals with day to day issues affecting club events and member experiences. She is an undergraduate researcher for Dr. Linda J. Harris’ lab providing research support through microbial analysis on E.coli, Listeria, and Salmonella on various foods. Participating in the 30th Annual IFTSA & Mars Wrigley Confectionery Product Development Competition made her realize an interest in product development. Her career goal is to work in R&D to produce a more convenient, sustainable, affordable, healthier, and safe product in the market. In her free time, Mirai enjoys cooking new recipes, traveling, hiking, and trying out new foods.

Bryan Quoc Le | Linkedin | Website

Former IFTSA VP of Digital and Social Media (2019-2020)

Bryan is a Ph.D. candidate in Food Science at University of Wisconsin-Madison studying the health effects of garlic and onion flavors. He is the author of 150 Food Science Questions Answered (Rockridge Press, 2020) and received his B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry at University of California, Irvine. In another life, he walked 2,000 miles from California to Louisiana in six months, and learned that eating tuna and peanut butter every day was not meant for the average human body. After he met his wife, he learned that there was more to good food than canned goods and smoothies. While not juicing onions and pressing garlic, Bryan likes to run half-marathons, discover interesting cuisines with his wife, and help food companies with their food science communication.

Marta Albiol Tapia | Linkedin

Former SMF Blog Manager (2019-2020)

Marta obtained her B.S. in Food Science and Technology from Universitat Politècnica de València, in Spain. During her undergraduate studies, she spent two semesters abroad in Wageningen Universiteit in The Netherlands, and one semester at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where she is now a Ph.D. student. Her research focuses on sensory science methodology, specifically on context effect of environmental and sample differences in consumer testing of beverages. Marta has a passion for food science and nutrition education and she will often make time to work on educational projects, professional volunteering and field trips. In her free time, you will find her watching YouTube videos. In extended periods of free time, you will most likely find her in Spain.

Serap Ozel Vatansever | Linkedin | ResearchGate

Former IFTSA Social Media Manager (2019-2020)

Serap is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Plant Sciences for the Cereal Science Graduate Program at the North Dakota State University under the advisement of Dr. Clifford Hall. Her research has focused on improving sensory attributes of pea flour using green technology, Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE), as well as exploring the implications of this technology on techno-functionality of pea protein isolate and on pea starch fine structural features. Eventually, her research will help to determine the feasibility of the optimized SFE system to enhance the utilization of pulse ingredients in the food system through flavor modification. During her doctoral program, Serap was also a graduate intern for a malt equipment company and pulse ingredient company to research on malting process for different grains, and texturized pulse proteins and gluten-free pasta, respectively.

Serap earned her B.S. degree as valedictorian in the Department of Food Engineering from Pamukkale University, Turkey and was also an exchange student for two semesters in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Thereafter, she received her M.S. degree in Food Microbiology and Biotechnology from Pamukkale University, and then, worked for ~ 3 years at the National Bank in Turkey. Serap likes arranging social events, volunteering for food science related associations and education based non-profit organizations, tasting local specialty cheeses and drinks, and traveling. She is both honored and excited to serve as a social media manager of the IFT Student Association.

Amanda Sia | Linkedin

Former IFTSA VP of Digital and Social Media (2018-2019)

Amanda graduated with her M.S. in Food Science at The Ohio State University. Her research focuses on using vibrational spectroscopy data to build predictive models for use in quality assurance settings. Amanda received her B.S. in Food Science from University of Minnesota (a shocking change of environment since she is originally from Malaysia, a very tropical country). When she is not scanning peanuts in the lab, Amanda likes to play squash, sing in the shower (sorry housemates), watch sappy Korean dramas, and play the guitar.

Mackenzie Hannum | Linkedin

SMF Blog Writer

Mackenzie graduated with a B.S from The Ohio State University in Food Science and couldn’t get enough of it so decided to stay at Ohio State to pursue her PhD in Food Science with the focus on sensory science. Overall her research investigates panelist engagement and ways to improve sensory methodology. Fun fact about Mackenzie is that her 5th grade science fair project explained the concept of the 5 basic tastes so in a way she has come full circle. As much as she prides herself now on being a true foodie, ready to try all things sans olives, she will admit her two all-time, indisputable favorite foods are pretzels (any kind) and plain bagels. Truly…if she was stranded on a deserted island with only one food item it would be a tough battle between the two but pretzels would win out. Hard, soft, sourdough, sticks—you name it!

alexpierceAlex Pierce-Feldmeyer | Linkedin | Website

Senior SMF Blog Writer & Assistant Editor

Alex graduated with a B.S. from the University of Illinois in Food Science and completed her PhD at Ohio State University in a lab revolving around sensory evaluation and psychophysics, potentially the functional or cognitive benefits from food and food ingredients. Alex is currently a sensory scientist at MANE, a flavor company. An avid study-er of the nose and its wild contributions to flavor, potentially how aroma affects different aspects of cognition. Alex dabbles in triathlons and fitness-ness. She has an ice cream tour every Sunday, every ice cream place (that is good) is on her list and it must have sprinkles. Grocery stores, sunrises and puppies are everything!

Abbie Sommer | Linkedin | Website

SMF Blog Writer

After graduating with a B.S. in Food Science from Purdue University, Abbie decided to move one state over to pursue a Masters from Ohio State. Her research is focused on soy-based functional foods for use in clinical trials. When she’s not making thousands of soft pretzels (for science, of course), you can find her training for half marathons or experimenting in the kitchen. Recently, Abbie has developed a passion for sourdough and treats her starter like a child. She also has a recipe blog (Sommer Eats) as well as an Instagram account (sommer_eats), where she posts somewhat healthy but always delicious recipes.

Jo-Ezer Lau

SMF Blog Writer

Jo is currently completing his BSc. (Hons) Food Science and Nutrition at the Letterkenny Institute of Technology in Ireland. His honours year project studies the optimal range of cooking temperature-time combinations for spinach to maximise mineral retention. He is looking to pursue postgraduate studies either in food safety or sports nutrition.

Ultimate (frisbee) is an important part of Jo’s life. His dream is to research and develop a food and nutrition programme that competitive, elite Ultimate players can utilise, because he believes that eating right is the only way to make all the physical grind worthwhile.

Jo loves a good hike, whipping up a delicious meal and acoustic music. His greatest achievement thus far as a Malaysian studying at an out-of-the-world distance from home, is making Nasi Lemak from scratch. Blood is thicker than water, but sambal is thicker than blood.

Pat Polowsky | Linkedin | Website

SMF Blog Writer & Graphic Designer

Pat is a Ph.D. student in Agricultural Education & Communication at Purdue University. Most recently he was a senior product development manager on Walmart’s Private Brand team supporting the deli, entertaining, and gourmet categories. Previously he’s worked in Vermont and Wisconsin, focusing on cheese R&D, sensory science, and software development. In his free time, he runs, an online educational toolbox for all things cheese. His passion in life is communicating food science in a visual and engaging way. Some folks like gardening on the weekend, whereas Pat enjoys making PowerPoint animations of casein micelles. He has his B.S. in Food Science from Purdue University and his M.S. in Food Science from the University of Vermont.

Eileen Foerster

Eileen Foerster | Linkedin

SMF Blog Writer

Eileen is an undergraduate at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, with an interest in food product development.  She is the recipient of the Moroz Learning Assistantship for the  2019-2020 school year, and is currently developing a food product in the pilot plant with the end goal of being implemented in her school’s dining services.  Outside of the classroom, she can most likely be seen leading the Association of Food Technologists Club, at a group workout class, or baking away the stress of a busy school week.  She also likes to explore new coffee shops around the area, and loves going to farmer’s markets during the warmer months.

Mustafa Yavuz | Linkedin

SMF Blog Writer

Mustafa graduated with his M.S. from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to his Master’s degree, he got a Bachelor’s degree in Food Engineering from Pamukkale University. He has worked in dairy farms and raisin plants as a production engineer. After a whirl winding industry career, he pursued an academic career and got a Teaching Assistant position in the Food Engineering Department at Karatekin University (Cankiri, Turkey). He is working on metabolic engineering through perturbation of microbes’ genomes. In his free time, he likes playing soccer, reading entrepreneurs’ books, discovering new food ventures, and indulging his taste buds with brewed tea from different parts of the world. He loves to discuss food microbiology, GMOs, novel food processes, meat and sugar alternatives, and definitely tea.

Karin ChoKarin Cho | Linkedin

SMF Blog Writer

Karin earned her B.A. in Biochemistry from Grinnell College, and during her time there, she was unsure how to merge her two passions for science and food. After attending several IFT events and completing a QA internship abroad, she decided to pursue a Master’s in Food Science and Technology from Iowa State University. Her research involves the development of fat alternatives. Growing up in a Chinese-Japanese household, she developed a palate for tasting new, sometimes bizarre, foods. When she’s not learning about food science, she enjoys watching science fiction movies, taking walks in parks, and learning new recipes from the people she meets during her travels.

Emanueli Backes | Linkedin

SMF Blog Writer

Emanueli is a Brazilian enthusiastic for food science and technologies.  Backes graduated with a degree in Food Engineering and Masters in Quality and Food Safety. She is now pursuing her PhD in Food Science. Backes research focus is on organic synthesis of new antioxidant compounds through enzymatic reactions.

Emanueli loves education and science popularization; she believes everything can be demystified, uncomplicated, and taught.



Wanxin “Maggie” Xue| Linkedin

SMF Blog Writer

Wanxin is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Food Science at the University of Guelph. Wanxin also goes by the name Maggie, because her parents met each other at Maggi soy sauce plant and fell in love, which set the tone for Wanxin picking Food Science as her study and career choice. Wanxin is also the President of the Food Science club at the University of Guelph, enjoying building the community of foodies and helping people know more about Food Science. Growing up in China and coming to Canada to study, Wanxin develops a strong appreciation towards different cultures. She loves traveling, making new friends and exploring local culture through the cuisine. In her free time, you can also find her juggling.

Eleanor HansenLinkedin

SMF Blog Writer

Eleanore Hansen is a second year PhD student studying toxicology in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. She got dual BS degrees in Food Science and Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, and her MS in Food Science with an emphasis on food safety and microbiology at the University of Minnesota. She is thrilled to begin her second semester of teaching a course on food safety, risks, and technology at the University of Minnesota in spring 2023.

Edwin Allan | Linkedin

SMF Blog Writer

Edwin completed his bachelor’s degree in nutrition and food science at the University of Ghana. Through this experience, he was inspired to use his education to make a difference in his home nation. Currently, he is a PhD Candidate in the Individual Interdisciplinary Program (IIP) at Montana State University.


Janice Cheng | Linkedin

SMF Blog Writer

Janice completed her B.S. in Food Science in 2020 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After working a Quality Assurance role in a bakery manufacturing facility, she decided to pursue a M.S. degree in Food Science at the University of Minnesota – related to baking as well! Her research involves developing alternative formulations to enable local artisanal producers to make baked goods containing fruit/vegetable inclusions in accordance with local cottage food laws.


Prerana Balasubramanian | Linkedin

SMF Blog Writer

I’m a final year biotechnology undergraduate at Vellore Institute of Technology, India by training with a particular interest in food science and the smart protein sector. As a conscious consumer, I like thinking of ways I could reimagine foods to be more nutritious, tasty and have a lower environmental footprint while respecting our food traditions. I aspire to use the unique mixture of my food science knowledge and biotechnology background to tackle complex food challenges across the food chain.

Allyson Hamilton | Linkedin

Senior SMF Blog Writer

Allyson received her B.S. in Chemistry at Indiana University Bloomington. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Food safety at the University of Arkansas. Allyson also works as an English as a second language tutor for Chinese students and enjoys reading and writing about all things FOOD in her spare time.