Cal Poly Awarded Funding for a New Graduate Fellowship Focused on the Global Reduction of Food Waste
SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly’s Food Science and Nutrition Department has been awarded a nearly $250,000 grant through the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Needs and Postgraduate Fellowship Grants Program to focus on the conversion of agricultural and food waste challenges into opportunities.
The funding will be used over a four-year period to enroll six students in the master’s in agriculture program with a specialization in food science. The students’ coursework will be focused on global issues related to agricultural and food waste. The cross-disciplinary program will involve 11 faculty members from across the university, including food science and nutrition, industrial packaging, animal science, and engineering. Food science Professor Stephanie Jung and Associate Professor Amanda Lathrop will oversee the program.
“This program will expose fellows to an array of academic, intellectual and global themes pertaining to food waste and the ways to overcome the challenges associated with it,” Jung said. “Students will address the economic, environmental and social burden of food waste.”
It is estimated that 40 percent of food produced in the U.S. is wasted each year. In 2015, the USDA launched the first-ever national food loss and waste goal, calling for a 50 percent reduction in food waste by 2030.
“To meet those goals both nationally and outside the U.S., there will be an increased demand by the industry and governmental institutions for food scientists to implement solutions,” Jung said. “As it is now, there are limited training opportunities for food science students in this area. This program will provide the research needed to guide the food industry on possible alternatives to handling food waste and provide trained students with the leadership and technical skills needed to solve those challenges.”
The Cal Poly program will include a mandatory internship with key industry partners and leadership development through undergraduate mentoring and teaching opportunities.
Students with a bachelor’s degree in science such as food science, chemistry, biochemistry and engineering are encouraged to apply. Evaluation of candidates will begin immediately. A stipend of $18,000 per year for two years, plus partial tuition, will be awarded to the selected candidates.
About the Food Science and Nutrition Department
Cal Poly’s Food Science and Nutrition Department offers a comprehensive education in food science and nutrition, from the development of new foods to the study of how foods impact health, wellness and disease prevention. The department’s on-campus food pantry and cutting-edge laboratories provide top-of-the-line learning opportunities and promote safe, sustainable and nutritious food through partnerships with the food industry.
About Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, comprehensive polytechnic university. The university’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences is comprised of expert faculty members who take pride in their ability to transform academically motivated students into innovative professionals ready to solve the complex challenges associated with feeding the world in sustainable ways. Students have access to state-of-the-art laboratories, including ranch land, orchards, vineyards and forests, all of which provide the basis for Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing methodology. It is the fifth-largest college of agriculture in the country, with 4,000 undergraduate students.
Contact: AnnMarie Cornejo
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