Our experiences: By the recipients of the IAFP 2019 student travel scholarship award

Hiroke Abe, Jennifer Acuff, Justin Anast, Katrien Begyn, Melanie Firestone, Catherine Gensler, Carly Gomez, Gayathri Gunathilaka, John Jack Hodges, Rochelle Keet, Sakshi Lamba, Ruiling Lv, Sarah Murphy, Oladipupo Olatunde, Ruth Oni, Elvina Parlindungan, Surabhi Rani, H. Lester Schonberger, Mary Kathryn Yavelak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)492-501
Number of pages10
JournalFood Protection Trends
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Attending IAFP 2019 as a Student Travel Scholarship recipient was an eye-opening and gratifying experience. I would like to thank the IAFP Foundation, the Selection Committee, and the IAFP Staff for reviewing my career goals for this scholarship. As a doctoral candidate in Food Technology, I found the symposia, technical sessions, poster sessions, and roundtable discussions I attended very enlightening. IAFP gave me the opportunity to learn and meet professionals around the globe who are constantly tackling or combatting food safety-related issues by using current and innovative approaches. The connections I made with food safety professionals for possible research collaborations were enthralling and no small measure to my career. I attended both the Student PDG and the Seafood Safety and Quality PDG meetings, where I made suggestions, most specifically on the implementation of non-thermal technologies for the assurance of safety and shelf-life extension in food industries. This idea was welcomed as a step in the right direction, since consumer demand for minimally processed or fresh foods is increasing. I also attended the African Continental Association for Food Protection Affiliate meeting, where members are working hand-in-hand to ensure food safety in Africa. Way to go, Africa! My assigned mentor, Dr. Preetha Biswas, Director of Microbiology Research and Development at Neogen Corporation, was my guardian angel! She really made me feel comfortable and welcome at the meeting, and her experiences and enthusiasm motivate me. The highlight for this meeting for me was my scheduled time at the IAFP Foundation booth. There, I met generous people who donated money to such a great cause. These individuals are the reason why a Ph.D. student like me from a developing country was able to attend this conference! I am profoundly grateful to all those who contributed. All these and many other experiences encourage me to keep contributing toward ensuring that food is safe in my home country and around the world. I look forward to many more years with IAFP. Food safety is everyone’s business!

Funding Information:
Attending IAFP in /ouisville was fulfilling, energizing, and exceeded my every expectation. I would first like to share my immense gratitude to the Selection Committee in selecting me for this honor, to the IAFP Staff for their logistical support, and to the IAFP Foundation and its donors for funding my experience. A highlight of the Annual Meeting was the Student P'* Meeting, /uncheon, and -Minute Thesis Competition. To see so many students in one place who are interested in becoming more engaged in IAFP and our field is immensely gratifying. It also forces me to reÀect upon my first meeting in Tampa, when I was trying to figure out my place in the group. To then be in the community with students and those invested in our experience at the luncheon, with a healthy dose of competition as my peers shared their research to win generously donated prizes, validated that this is the place for me. The Annual Meeting also represented the culmination of my work in co-coordinating the Student P'* Mentor Program and P'* Committee /iaison Program, both of which have been designed for other students to find their areas of connection within IAFP and become more involved overall. A large portion of my time was spent attending the roundtables and symposia organized by our membership, two of which I helped convene. While many I attended were focused on my areas of interest ± communication, extension, and education ± it was fun to attend some outside my research areas to re-main engaged with the broader field of food safety. It is exciting to attend a session and learn about some of the cutting-edge work being done and identify how I can apply that to my work at 9irginia Tech. My experience would not have been the same without the networking breaks and luncheons. I was able to connect with my mentor, 'r. Channah 5ock from the 8niversity of Arizona, during Tuesday¶s lunch to chat about our work, learn about her career path, and discuss the broader IAFP experience. Some of my time was spent at the Student P'* booth in the (xhibit +all selling t-shirts and stickers, and fielding questions on how members can become more engaged with us. I now realize that each time I attend an Annual Meeting, I recognize more people and feel more confident in striking up a conversation with someone I may not already know but will likely see again next year. This feeling of connection allows me to have a more enriching and elevated experience, one that I have not been able to find in other associations. Again, I am filled with gratitude for being awarded this travel scholarship. I appreciate its impact on my experience, and look forward to continued contributions to IAFP in the future. 8ntil Cleveland!

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