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Jessica Kassuelke is a 2018 IFMA Education Foundation scholarship recipient. She attends University of Illinois Champaign Urbana and is majoring in Food Science. 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 Food Science. I decided on food science because I have always been very passionate about health and well-being from my runner lifestyle. I want to be able to help others improve their health through food. Also, I like the idea of being able to improve and develop new products from start to finish.I am majoring in Food Science and minoring in Beverage Management and Horticulture. I’ve wanted to be a food scientist since I was sixteen years old, when my family friend introduced me to the profession and allowed me to job shadow her as a Sensory Food Scientist at Amway. I loved how food science combined my passions for food and helping people. I could help create food to make people happy, and I could make sure food was safe so it wouldn’t cause illness. My courses have solidified my desire to become a food scientist, as I genuinely enjoy going to food science classes.

How has your scholarship enabled you to pursue a career in foodservice?
The scholarship has reduced my financial burden, which has allowed me to be able to focus more on my school work to obtain a better education.

What was your first job in foodservice?
My first job in the food service would be volunteering as an undergraduate lab assistant in Human microbiome and nutrition lab. During the summer I was able to work in the metabolic kitchen on campus. My duty was to prepare meals for participants in our research study on avocados. I learned about proper industry sanitation techniques. Also, how to portion size meals for different treatments, age, and gender.

What would you say is your "dream job" after you graduate?
My dream job would be either working in the food industry as quality assurance or research and development of new food products.

What have you learned that you will apply to a career in foodservice?
I think the biggest thing that I have learned is from my food chemistry class and lab. In knowing the science behind reactions in food we can better design our food products for industry. For example, in lab we did an experiment in identifying reducing sugars. In knowing what kind of sugar we are working with as a food scientist we will know what type of browning will occur. I will take these types of skills and apply them in my career in foodservice.

What are some of the challenges students like you face in today's world of foodservice?
The most difficult challenges I believe for students is balancing course work, paying for college, networking, and obtaining an internship. I found out last year how competitive it is to obtain an internship. I had many interviews and call backs but was not successful in landing one. In joining AFT and Food Product Development club this has helped me expand my network.

Do you have a mentor? How have they helped you?
I don't have one set mentor. My councilor, teachers, graduate students, and lab professors have guided me through school challenges. They have helped increase my knowledge on food science and given me hands on opportunities to learn.

What is your favorite meal?
My favorite meal is cauliflower soup.

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 IFMA@IFMAworld.com.