FSU Food Science Students Win Big at Regional Award Event

FSU Food Science Students Win Big at Regional Award Event

May 3, 2018

Despite coming from the smallest program represented at the North East Institute of Food Technologists’ student recognition night, Framingham State food science students claimed one-third of the awards this spring, including the award for the top undergraduate student.

Seniors Stephanie Sokol, Ben Montemurro, and Bill Wolfe, as well as graduate student Lai Yee Phoon, were each awarded scholarships in recognition of their impressive academic track records, research, and extra-curricular activities in food science. The scholarships range in size from $1,500 to $2,500, and the students have chosen to use the money to cover the expense of attending the Institute of Food Technologists’ Annual Event and Food Expo in July, which is expected to draw 23,000 people from across the globe.

“This recognition is a great boost for our program and the students,” says Dr. Vinay Mannam, a professor in the Chemistry and Food Science Department. “In addition to the monetary award, the students will be highlighted at the Northeast annual expo, which is well attended by the local food industry.”

It is the intimate size of FSU’s program that has helped them assemble portfolios that stand out from the pack, according to the students, who competed with students from larger programs, including UMass Amherst, Johnson and Wales, the University of Rhode Island, and the University of Maine.

“Our class is so small, we are able to do a lot of research as undergraduates,” says Montemurro, who currently interns with Concord Foods and hopes to design and engineer new food technology products in the future. “We also have gotten to personally know our professors, which definitely helps.”

Sokol, who took home the Melvin I. Darack Award as the top undergraduate student in the region, currently interns with Brady Enterprises in East Weymouth as an associate food technologist and has a full-time job with the company waiting for her after she graduates this spring.

“I am more interested in the industry side than the research side, so it’s been a great opportunity,” says Sokol, who is President of the FSU Food Science Club. Montemurro (treasurer) and Wolfe (secretary) are also members of the Food Science Club.

Phoon, who competed against PhD students in addition to fellow master’s degree candidates, says she intends to pursue her PhD and work as a researcher. Same goes for Wolfe, who will enter UMass Amherst’s graduate program in the fall. Both Phoon and Wolfe had the opportunity to perform research with Professor Emmanouil Apostolidis during their time at FSU, which helped fuel their interest in sustainable food systems and healthy food products.

To learn more about Framingham State University’s Food Science Programs, visit https://www.framingham.edu/academics/colleges/science-technology-engineering-and-mathematics/chemistry-and-food-science/index.

About Framingham State University

Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,000 students with 58 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a State College and University (SCU), Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.