One in five jobs are related to food, and there is always a shortage of food scientists, according to Food Science Club advisor and nutrition food sciences professor Joan King. For students interested in the safety and science behind their favorite meals, the Food Science Club is currently looking for more members to share its passion for cooking and science.
“Basically, [the organization] is to bridge the gap between being in school and the food industry,” said graduate student and president of the Food Science Club Millicent Yeboah-Awudzi. “We try to build collaboration and good networking and get more people like the students get exposed to what is out there so that, once you get out, you have good contacts and know what to do.”
One of the upcoming events the club will host is the Institute of Food Technologists Student Association (IFTSA) South Central Area Meeting and College Bowl Competition, which will be March 29-30 in the Animal and Food Sciences Building. Students will be quizzed on their knowledge of food safety.
“We have students coming in from Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas,” Yeboah-Awudzi said. “We’ll hopefully win and compete in the national college bowl, which will be in June in New Orleans.”
King said the organization has won regional competitions in IFTSA four different times.
Food science and technology Ph.D student and club chair Karuna Kharel said members come up with exciting ideas on how to further their education with food safety.
For example, Parraga has prepared crawfish etouffee for potlucks and dinners with members of the Food Science Club in order to teach them how to properly cook it, according to Kharel.
“This department has a lot of international students, so everyone brought a dish,” Yeboah-Awudzi said.
Last semester, the organization had an event on food safety training and another for manuscript writing. The organization also had several welcome-back school lunches in the fall and spring semesters.
Alumni often speak at the club's events. They discuss with students what they can pursue as a career in food sciences, King said.
Graduate student and treasurer of the Food Science Club Katheryn Parraga said grad students and undergraduate students from the food science department are welcomed to the club.
The Food Science Club has meetings at least once a month, which will be announced in the future. Of course, food is always available at the meetings. The organization has around 40 members ranging from chemistry to biology members.
Members can also participate in volunteer activities, such as writing cards for those in nursing homes, making peanut butter sandwiches for the homeless and collecting money for those suffering from natural disasters.
“It depends how busy [the members] want to be,” King said.
The Food Science Club also has travel scholarships available for undergraduate and graduate students to attend the Institute of Food Technologists conference.
“We want to make sure people know the science behind why things are in your food,” King said.