Colleen Joseph is a 2017 IFMA Education Foundation scholarship recipient. She attends Michigan State University and is majoring in Nutritional Sciences. 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?
I am a current senior majoring in Nutritional Sciences and minoring in Environmental and Sustainability Studies. During one of my sustainability courses at Michigan State University (MSU) I was introduced to the topic of sustainable food systems and how they can play an important role in the nutrition and well being of our society so I decided to enroll in some nutrition courses the following year. I enjoyed learning more about the connection between our food systems and human health and nutrition, so I decided to major in Nutritional Sciences.
How has your stipend enabled you to pursue a career in foodservice?
The IFMA Education Foundation Scholarship will enable me to pursue my goal of attending graduate school after graduating from MSU. This generous award will allow be to worry less about financing my degree, and focus on my goal of earning my master's degree, and shortly after finding a career I am passionate about in the field of foodservice.
What was your first job in foodservice?
My first job in foodservice was at the MSU Dairy Store. The Dairy Store is an ice cream shop on campus that sells ice cream and cheese sourced right from MSU dairy cows and made on campus. The Dairy Store has two locations and the products are only sold on campus.
What would you say is your "dream job" after you graduate?
I plan to pursue my masters degree in public health after graduating from MSU and then pursue a degree and career in sustainable food systems and nutrition. I think my "dream job" would be a career that would allow me connect my passion for food with helping others live longer healthier lives through improved nutrition and disease prevention practices.
What have you learned that you will apply to a career in foodservice?
Over the past four years at MSU I have not only had the opportunity to work in the MSU Dairy Store I have also had the privilege to intern with MSU Extension in Flint Michigan and help promote sustainable agriculture and healthier eating practices, as well as travel abroad to France to learn about food systems and intern on an organic dairy farm. I have learned much more about food systems and the various problems that urban communities often face with food insecurity and food deserts through both my courses at MSU, and my work experience in Flint Michigan. I have also learned more about the importance of local food systems through a hands on internship in France where I lived and worked on an organic dairy farm. Through this diversity of experiences I have gained many educational and professional skills that will help me excel in a future career in foodservice.
Do you have mentor? How have they helped you?
I currently work in a community nutrition research lab under Dr. Katherine Alaimo. This is my second year working for Dr. Alaimo, and consider myself very lucky to have a mentor who is always willing to offer help or advice. Dr. Alaimo has not only taught me the importance of valid and trustworthy research through the work I have done, she has also assisted me when applying to graduate school by helping me with my personal statement and resume, and providing me with knowledgeable advice.
What is your favorite meal?
My favorite meal would have to be pizza. I come from an Italian family and have grown up eating a lot of Italian dishes which I love.
What companies have you worked at for internships?
I have worked for Michigan State University Extension.
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.
Do you want to support the next generation of foodservice by making a donation to IFMA's Education Foundation?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.