Future of Foodservice Student Spotlight: Julia Amador

Posted by IFMA January 16, 2014

Tagged in Educational Foundation foodservice internships Optimize

Univ Of Illinois - Julie Amador (2)

Julia Amador is a 2013 IFMA Educational Foundation Scholarship recipient. She is a senior at the University of Illinois majoring in Food Science & Human Nutrition. Find out what she had to say when we asked her a few questions about her foodservice internship and future career.

How has your scholarship enabled you to pursue a career in foodservice?
This scholarship has helped enable me to pursue a career in food science by supporting the cost of my tuition. Attending the University of Illinois has truly prepared me for a career in the food industry by giving me a solid foundation in chemistry, biology, and engineering as well as providing undergraduate research opportunities and industry connections through career fairs and job shadows.

What was your first job in foodservice?
My first job in foodservice began the summer after my sophomore year when I was offered an internship at a company called Newly Weds Foods in Chicago, Illinois. This company makes batters, breadcrumbs, seasonings, and English muffins. I worked in the Basic Research department and my project for the summer was to determine the effectiveness of a Powder Flow Analyzer attachment for a Texture Analyzer. In addition to my project, I learned about the flow properties of hard and soft wheat flour and developed Standard Operation Procedures to determine the flowability of samples for future use in products.

I hope to continue doing research or product development at a major food company such as Nestle Nutrition or General Mills.

What would you say is your "dream job" after you graduate?
Becoming an undergraduate research assistant has helped guide me towards my current career interests. I work in Dr. de Mejia's lab which focuses on health benefits of bioactive components such as flavonoids and proteins in food. I have learned so much about the research process for graduate students and how the results can benefit society. After graduation I will pursue a Master's Degree and perhaps a Ph.D. in food science. I hope to continue doing research or product development at a major food company such as Nestle Nutrition or General Mills.

Do you have a mentor?  How have they helped you?
During the summer of 2013 I interned for Land O'Lakes Inc. and my mentor Jason not only helped me develop my intern research project but also encouraged me to get my Master's Degree in food science after I graduate.

What are some of the challenges students like you face in today's world of foodservice?
I think that many consumers are uninformed or misinformed about the food industry. When a consumer hears the words "food additives" or "food processing" some automatically assume food that is unsafe or unhealthy. Future food scientists are faced with the challenge of creating foods that are nutritious as well as safe and affordable.

What have you learned that you will apply to a career in foodservice?
During my time as an undergraduate student, I have learned so much about the food development process that I will apply to my future career. My internships and research experience enabled me to combine the knowledge I gained from all my previous classes and apply it to real world situations. I learned the importance of problem solving and not giving up when a formulation or experiment did not turn out the way I wanted. I also obtained valuable teamwork skills through collaborations with students, professors, and industry professionals.

My internships and research experience enabled me to combine the knowledge I gained from all my previous classes and apply it to real world situations.What is your favorite meal?
I love going out with family or friends to eat sushi. I love the intricacy of each piece and the creative blends of flavors in every bite.

About The IFMA Educational Foundation

The IFMA Educational Foundation promotes the next generation of foodservice leaders. The Foundation is committed to give qualified culinary, marketing or food science students support toward completion of education requirements.  Over the years, we've accomplished our goal by providing scholarships, publications, educational programs, internships and stipends to accredited institutions and individuals enrolled in accredited institutions.

Do you want to support the next generation of foodservice by making a donation to IFMA's Educational Foundation?  Contact us at ifma@ifmaworld.com.

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