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Davis, California

Monday, June 10, 2024

Educational student organization prepares members for the food science industry

UC Davis’ Food Tech Club hosts professional development events and hands-on learning experiences


By LYNN CHEN — features@theaggie.org 


Student organizations at UC Davis cover a wide range of interests. The Food Tech Club on campus is specifically committed to career development for future food scientists. Though it is geared towards food science majors, the club is open to other interested undergraduates as well.

“[The club is] for students that are interested in food tech or are in the food science major to learn and get opportunities from the school, industries and anywhere else,” Saanya Gupta, a fourth-year food science major and president of the Food Tech Club, said. 

The club is a part of the Institute of Food Technologists which provides undergraduates with volunteering opportunities in the field to learn about food safety, nutrition and sustainability.

The Food Tech Club alone presents a broad range of activities and events for its members to explore, according to Gupta.

For instance, the club frequently hosts educational food demonstrations. To celebrate the latest Lunar New Year, the club hosted a dumpling-making demonstration. 

Students can also participate in mentorship programs, speaker events and networking mixers to gain a deeper understanding of potential career paths in their field. Professionals attending these events include faculty from the Food Science and Technology department as well as experts from businesses including Pepsi and Blue Diamond.

Furthermore, the club also offers industry tours for undergraduates to learn about the food-making processes of different corporations in a more hands-on environment.

Recently, Gupta said that members have visited companies such as Jelly Belly, Premier Protein and Mattson, a food and beverage innovation company based in California.

Additionally, the club is a contributor to the UC Davis community. For the upcoming Picnic Day, the Food Tech Club booth is planning to give out ice cream that they made from scratch.

A rigorous procedure will be used to ensure that the icy treats can be safely consumed by the public, according to Carol Jian, a fourth-year food science major and vice president of the Food Tech Club.

“We will have a team of [members] who are interested in food safety, and they will come together and develop a food safety plan for making ice cream,” Jian said.

After the plan is made, the team will then collaborate with the Pilot Plant — a food processing facility on campus — and their manager to produce the ice cream on a larger scale.

Other than educating members on topics in the field, the club is also dedicated to teaching students about other important subjects related to the discipline.

“Recently we had a cultural appropriation of product development talk,” Gupta said. “People came and basically communicated important questions like, ‘What is the difference between appropriation and appreciation of a culture’s food?’”

Overall, the Food Tech Club can be an enriching experience for students pursuing the field.

“Hopefully, [members] meet other food science majors and build connections that take them outside of the club,” Jonah Messinger, a second-year food science major and external relations chair of the Food Tech Club, said. “I think hearing from the guest speakers we bring in and touring different industries and factories helps people see [their careers] more clearly.”


Written by: Lynn Chen — features@theaggie.org


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