Alex Vonderschmidt is a 2017 International Gold & Silver Plate Society stipend recipient. He attends Kansas State University and is majoring in Dietetics. Find out what he had to say when we asked him a few questions about his foodservice stipend and future career.
What is your major & what made you decide on it?
I’m majoring in Dietetics. I love working with people, and I'm really passionate about nutrition and food, so it all just kind of came together with dietetics. I originally didn't know that major existed, and was nutrition & kinesiology, but then switched to dietetics when I learned more about what it was.
How has your stipend enabled you to pursue a career in foodservice?
It's allowed me to cut back on my hours at one of my jobs this semester, which will allow me to focus more on school, and spend more time focusing in on my passions and my classes especially and not having to worry as much on the finances that come with just being able to attend classes.
What was your first job in foodservice?
My first job in foodservice was a server at Denny's during high school.
What would you say is your "dream job" after you graduate?
There's so much out there and there is so much diversity in dietetics and in the world of nutrition and food, it's so hard to say exactly what I want to do, but I think being on the frontlines of research in foodservice would be very interesting! Something new every day!
What have you learned that you will apply to a career in foodservice?
I think the main thing that I've learned is the ability to juggle multiple things at once. When working in the foodservice environment, for me at least, I always need to have a constantly scrolling "To-Do List" in my mind. You have to be very present, of course, and be able to fully assess what is happening in the now, but you also need to know exactly what you need to be doing next. There is often not a lot of time to spare in a foodservice environment, so you need to be constantly on your toes and there isn't a lot of room to sit and think about what to do next.
What are some of the challenges students like you face in today's world of foodservice?
I think that with an ever expanding view of the public into the realm of foodservice, the biggest challenge is staying extremely current and up to date with all of the safety procautions that need to be taken when working in foodservice. Food safety is one of the most important aspects in a foodservice setting, and being able to juggle 100% standards in security, without compromising customer relations and food quality is something that I think is one of the biggest challenges!
Do you have mentor? How have they helped you?
Dr. Whitehair is my boss, but I would definitely also consider her a mentor to me! She has given me the opportunity to explore some of my passions in foodservice and nutrition by working at the Kramer Dining Center under her direction, but has also given me advice on so many different facets of life, including that of future opportunities in the realm of nutrition and food!
What is your favorite meal?
A simple one; spaghetti with marinara sauce! Of course with a side baguette.
What companies have you worked at for internships?
I have worked at Memorial Community Hospital and Health System.
About The IFMA Educational 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.