Sarah Hansen is a 2018 IFMA Education Foundation scholarship recipient. She attends Kansas State University and is majoring in Dietetics and Nutrition & Health. Find out what she had to say when we asked her a few questions about her foodservice scholarship and future career.
What is your major & what made you decide on it?
My major is Dietetics and Nutrition & Health. When I came to college, I originally had my eyes set on being a physician assistant. However, once I got deeper in my nutrition classes, I fell in love with the science and how it can help people. Through being a leader in nutrition, I can have a larger impact on people’s health than only meeting with individual patients as a physician assistant.
How has your scholarship enabled you to pursue a career in foodservice?
This next semester, I will be starting my dietetic internship. This will require me to move out of state and pay tuition bills. This scholarship will be foundational for me being able to afford continuing my education and to receive my necessary certification as a registered dietitian.
What was your first job in foodservice?
I started out in food service as a dietary aide at a retirement home. My main job responsibilities entailed portioning and serving dinner to the residents who lived there, cleaning the dining room, and closing down the kitchen at the end of the night. However, my favorite part of the job was getting to know the residents I served.
What would you say is your "dream job" after you graduate?
My long-term goal is to combine my love for public health and desire to work in management together. I would love to have the opportunity to manage the food operations at a hospital and lead my fellow dietitians in their care for their patients. Through this position, I hope to gain experience in providing both quality food and care for a large population.
What have you learned that you will apply to a career in foodservice?
My biggest lesson I have learned at K-State is how to look at a foodservice operation from a bird’s eye view, while still being concerned with what is going on in the “trenches”. It is so important for the manager to have a big picture understanding for the operation, but that means absolutely nothing if you do not know what your employees are facing everyday. Being intentional in the relationships with employees while keeping the overall flow of the operation in mind will make the operation more successful and productive.
What are some of the challenges students like you face in today's world of foodservice?
Honestly, just the fact that foodservice is evolving so rapidly can be a huge challenge. In class, I have learned a lot about different trends that are really popular right now, like from-scratch cooking or using locally sourced food, but all of these are going to evolve. As a student, I think it is more imperative for me to learn how to adapt, and the process of adapting to new trends that will help me the most successful in this field.
Do you have a mentor? How have they helped you?
Yes, she has been wonderful! My mentor throughout college has been so helpful to me because she has encouraged me at every step of my journey at K-State. She began meeting with me as a sophomore, and has walked with me through every big decision, including the one to study dietetics instead of being a physician assistant. She has encouraged me often, prayed for me, and challenged me to pursue what I am passionate about. It was ultimately her that helped me decide to go for nutrition, and to pursue serving my community as a dietitian.
What is your favorite meal?
By far, my favorite meal is what my family makes for Christmas dinner every year. My aunt makes a German roast called sauerbraten, which comes with insanely delicious gravy. Then my mom will make her homemade stuffing and mashed potatoes, while everyone else helps out with the side dishes. It ends up being a spread of roasted vegetables, warm rolls, and creamy potatoes, all centered on the sauerbraten, which we only get once a year. So good!
What companies have you worked at for internships?
Last summer, I was a management intern at Kramer Dining Center at K-State. It was such a fun experience where I had the chance to learn about what makes a large food operation work. I had the opportunity to do some audits, work with the cooks on different food platforms, and even manage some meals. All of these learning experiences opened my eyes to what management can be like, and I received some good tips on how to make foodservice operations work efficiently.
About The IFMA Education Foundation
The IFMA Education 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.
About People Future 2025
The IFMA Education Foundations new industry initiative, focused on attracting the best and brightest talent into the foodservice industry. Click here to learn more.
How to help the next generation of foodservice!
- Support the IFMA Education Foundation by making a donation
- Get involved in the People Future 2025 initiative
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.