If you’re looking for an almost guaranteed job after you graduate from college, a major in food science is a great option. And industry support helps the WSU School of Food Science educate and support current students as they graduate.
This summer, the Puget Sound Institute of Food Technologists (PSIFT) donated $ 100,000 to the school while providing an additional $ 50,000 in scholarships.
“This regional industry support means a lot to our school, but also to the students it helps,” said Girish Ganjyal, Interim Director of Food Science. “Seeing the smiles on the faces of the students was amazing.
Student support means someone like Jessica Melocoton, a food science major, doesn’t have to worry about working to pay her bills this semester. She works for credit in the lab of Assistant Professor Minto Michael.
“I wouldn’t have had time to work in the lab if I had to work for money to pay rent,” said Melocoton, a Bremerton native who plans to graduate on May 22. “I work 12 hours a week in the lab and had to work 18 hours a week at my job. Combine it all with lessons and I wouldn’t have had time to sleep or study.
That kind of impact is exactly what the Institute hopes for when it reaches out to help students, according to Paul Cole, a 1989 graduate of WSU Food Science.
“Giving back is in our DNA,” said Cole, PSIFT Board Member. “We were once students and know it’s very expensive. I got a scholarship myself and I know it’s a big boost.
The PSIFT is a professional organization made up of food scientists who work in industry. They keep members up to date with new technology, the network and are part of the National Institute of Food Technologists, said Cole, who works at Bell Flavors & Fragrances in technical sales.
Jacob Cleary said PSIFT is well known within WSU Food Science. Chehalis’ eldest received one of the scholarships and plans to graduate in May. He appreciates the career options available to food science graduates.
“I got an associate’s degree in business, but learned how to make cheese as part of an orientation when I transferred to WSU,” Cleary said. “It was so cool to see this happen, and when they told me there were more jobs than graduates, I was sold.”
He has worked at the WSU Creamery since his arrival and is now a prominent undergraduate student in ice cream production. Her scholarship helps pay rent and tuition.
The PSIFT normally provides $ 20,000 each year for the scholarships, but they have increased it this year, in addition to the donation.
The donation of $ 100,000 will go towards an endowment, half of which will be used to create a fund for an instructor for undergraduate education. The other half will be used to update undergraduate teaching labs and student recruitment efforts.
“They haven’t been improved for a long time,” Ganjyal said. “We want to get new equipment so that the students can learn. The more real our equipment, the more it benefits students when they graduate and enter the professional world.
The instructor position is necessary because the department has no one dedicated solely to teaching undergraduate courses. Currently, only five of the school’s professors teach classes, and they also do research, mentor graduate students, and other work.
“We need teaching positions in disparate ways,” Ganjyal said. “This donation from the Puget Sound Group is greatly appreciated as we launch our efforts to staff this position.”
The total endowment should be $ 1.6 million for a full salary for the instructor. Ganjyal hopes industry stakeholder companies will help fund the endowment, knowing that they will see a return on their investment in hiring quality students from the WSU program.
For more information about the School of Food Science or the Endowment, contact Girish Ganjyal.