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Jennifer Vuia – Riser’s IFT Experience

IFT19 Student Experience

I was able to attend the Institute of Food Technologists 2019 (IFT19) Annual Meeting & Food Expo in New Orleans, Louisiana this past summer through the Student Organization Travel Fund granted to the Food Science Club. Traveling to IFT19 was an incredible experience as I was able to present my research conducted under Dr. Zhong’s United States Department of Agriculture National Needs Doctoral Fellowship. I was able to support my fellow graduate students as they presented their own work, and I viewed new products and technologies for the food industry at the Food Expo floor. I also gained professional development skills at the IFT Student Association (IFTSA) workshops that were held at the IFT Annual Meeting. Getting to meet other students who are involved in food science led to innovative and fresh ideas that were brought back to campus upon our return. Learning from other student’s club activities and making connections to improve our students’ experience has been invigorating. As outgoing Food Science Club President, it was an honor to be our Club representative to take the stage and accept the first IFTSA Chapter of the Year Develop Award. I made a lot of connections, friends, and memories at IFT19, and I would highly encourage any student to attend the conference!

IFTSA Board of Directors

This upcoming year, Jennifer Vuia-Riser will serve on the Institute of Food Technologists Student Association (IFTSA) Board of Directors as a Member at Large. Jennifer is one of four students selected to be a Member at Large for the upcoming year to serve on the Board. This Board is selected through a rigorous nomination and interview process before being slated as candidates that offer a diverse volunteer and educational background, passion for the science of food profession, and an unwavering commitment to each member in the IFTSA composed of over 2,900 students. Jennifer traveled to IFT19 in New Orleans, Louisiana this past summer and was able to attend Board orientation, training meetings, and led a session at the IFT19 Chapter Leaders Workshop. Throughout the upcoming year, Jennifer will be an Area Liaison to students from the IFTSA Pacific Northwest Area, organize and assist with workshops at the Institute of Food Technologists 2020 (IFT20) Annual Meeting & Food Expo in Chicago, Illinois, and will develop stronger connections with IFT, IFTSA, and the University of Tennessee Food Science program.

Area Meeting

This year, the Food Science Club is hosting the Institute of Food Technologists Student Association (IFTSA) 2020 Midwest Area Meeting & College Bowl Competition. This meeting further enhances students and their professional development skills by providing an opportunity for students from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, Purdue University, University of Kentucky, UT, and Wayne State University to network, hear about the latest happenings in IFTSA, and explore UT campus and Knoxville. The College Bowl Competition will test students’ knowledge and understanding of food science in a trivia-like competition; the winners of which will have a chance to compete for $1,000 at IFT20 in Chicago! Jennifer Vuia-Riser (Lead Chair), Joshua Brantley (Co-Chair), and Bob Pellegrino (Co-Chair) have been hard at work organizing details! If you would like to support the UT Food Science Club in this endeavor, monetary sponsorships and in-kind donations are being accepted! Please contact Jennifer Vuia-Riser at


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