By Mimi Ong, Contributor and Isabelle Cruz, Editor
In 2014, Cristal Martinez started the Food Science Club as a freshman along with three seniors, in hopes of developing professional skills for use after graduation. Four years later, the club continues and has evolved into a chapter for Institute of Food Technologists, a national organization that helps students interested in kick-starting their career in the food science fields.
Food science is about the actual study of food from a scientific level, including the physical, biological, chemical and processing aspects. This also includes food technology such as applications to selection, preservation, processing, packaging, distribution and food safety.
The IFT chapter at LBSU is student-run but currently advised by Dr. Cheryl Rock. Students take part in the goals of the organization: “to enrich the academic experience with diverse opportunities that empower students to achieve their full potential.”
So what does that mean for members? Members get to enrich their academic experience by building their expertise outside class, networking with the other 2700+ members, developing their leadership skills and finding their community.
All of this is done through participation in product development competitions, opportunities for undergraduate research competition, IFT College Bowl and workshops, just to list a few.
Product development is an important aspect of the technological application of food. Being given the experience to work as a team and working through the process of creating a product is an experience that not only looks good on résumés but also advances students’ knowledge about the field and what to expect in the field.
Competition does not stop at product development. There is also an undergraduate research competition, where students can showcase their individual research skills in topics in the food science fields, or the annual College Bowl Academic Decathlon, where college students test their knowledge in fast-paced challenges over a 24-hour period.
An important event to highlight is the monthly Southern California IFT dinners, where members can meet with other members and create future networks for their post-graduation careers. The rest of the evening is spent mingling and enjoying dinner.
A one-year membership cost $15; a one-year membership with a T-shirt costs $25, and a one-year membership with graduation regalia for seniors costs $35. Additional fees are paid separately.
Food Science Club meets once a month on a Thursday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in room 110 of the Family and Consumer Sciences building.
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