Agriculture News

March 20, 2019

Student ‘food geeks’ headed to Purdue for annual meeting

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – More than 100 food science students representing seven universities will gather on Purdue's campus March 29-30 for a variety of social and career development opportunities as part of the Institute of Food Technologists Student Association's Midwest Area Meeting and College Bowl Competition.

The event is hosted by Purdue's Department of Food Science and is being organized by students in the department. In addition to Purdue, attendees will be coming from Michigan State University, Ohio State University, University of Illinois, University of Kentucky, University of Tennessee and Wayne State University.

“It's been eight years since Purdue was the meeting host, so we are looking forward to showcasing the university and our community," said event co-chair Anna Hayes, a doctoral candidate student from Lafayette, Minnesota. "The meeting is a great opportunity to gather and take part in activities and network with other students who share a passion for food science. We like to call ourselves the ‘Official Food Geeks.’”

The IFTSA event kicks off March 29 with the organization's business meeting and evening social activities. The activities on March 30 will feature industry tours designed to give attendees a taste of the local community while expanding their food science knowledge. And that knowledge will be put to the test at 1 p.m. on March 30 during the College Bowl Competition, which will be in Pfendler Hall's Deans Auditorium, Room 241.

During the College Bowl Competition, university teams will compete in a double-elimination tournament featuring food science trivia questions on topics ranging from food chemistry and food microbiology to nutrition and food law. The winning team earns a spot to compete this summer at the international level during the annual Institute of Food Technologists Food Expo.

"What makes this special for us is that students are given the opportunity to plan, organize and run this gathering for other students," said Erin Sukala, event co-chair and a sophomore majoring in food science from Auburn, Indiana. "That student focus and input is what helps make this a unique event for our food science peers from other universities."

The IFTSA is a community housed under the Institute of Food Technologists that provides students with networking opportunities, scholarship and research funds, and access to resources. IFTSA members gain leadership skills, experience and knowledge that prepares them for their food science careers.

Sponsors for the Purdue meeting are The Gerber Foundation, Skidmore Sales and Distributing, Purdue Ag Alumni Association, and the Bluegrass and Ohio Valley sections of the Institute of Food Technologists. 

Media contact: Maureen Manier, Purdue Agricultural Communication, 

Sources: Anna Hayes,

Erin Sukala,

Agricultural Communications: (765) 494-8415;

Maureen Manier, Department Head,  

Agriculture News Page

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