The Food Science Club provides an informal forum for undergraduate and graduate students to develop awareness of current needs in the food industry. It is a first step toward membership in a professional organization. Club members develop projects during the year to support visits to food and beverage plants and sponsor social events. Opportunities to attend regional and national Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) meetings as well as attend social activities and athletic events are part of the club’s activities. Members also have input to food science and human nutrition student operations through the Food Science Club.
The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition sponsors a student dairy products evaluation team. Students learn to evaluate various dairy products for sensory attributes. This team competes annually in regional and national contests in the United States and Canada.
MSU food science undergraduate and graduate students team together and take product ideas and prototypes developed in the food science capstone course, Food Product Development (FSC 470), to higher levels of development. They expand and improve on these concepts preparing a five-page proposal that is submitted to the Institute of Food Technologist's Student Division's Food Product Development Competition and scored by five food industry judges. Over 25 schools compete each year and our MSU teams have been selected as one of the six finalists in four of the last five years. Finalists compete at the National Convention held in New Orleans, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Chicago. Team members receive money from the A. Jackson Scholarship fund and travel money from the Great Lakes IFT section in addition to the $1,000 finalist money awarded. This activity is an excellent opportunity for students to interact with industry leaders and gain excellent work experience that is highly valued by industry.
Various universities put their food science knowledge and experience to the test as they compete with each other in quiz bowl. Universities participating in previous competitions include: Purdue University, University of Wisconsin at Madison, University of Wisconsin at River Falls and The Ohio State University. In the event that the college bowl is held at MSU, members get the opportunity to host and interact with fellow food science members. Faculty members in FSHN host a practice night for team members.
Numerous societies and associations exist for the expansion and improvements in the diverse field of food science. Many faculty members recommend that students join a professional society to increase their individual awareness of the food field. For example, membership in the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) provides students a greater understanding of the relevance of course materials, a broader perspective of the food field and aids students in identifying career tracks. The institute’s popular journal outlines current topics and issues in foods, provides selected research papers and lists employment opportunities. Reading IFT publications improves students’ understanding of the food industry and increases students’ awareness of the diverse aspects of food science.