Rooted in research
Friday, April 7, 2023
Media Contact: Kirsten Hollansworth | FAPC Communications Graduate Student | 405-744-0442 | email@example.com
The annual research symposium at Oklahoma State University's Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center is an opportunity for students to share their research with the community and industry stakeholders throughout the state.
The March 28 symposium at FAPC included oral and poster presentations. Sponsors included the Institute of Food Technologists-Oklahoma section, International Association for Food Protection and KBR, formerly known as Kellogg Brown & Root.
“As represented by the various student presentations, conducting research is important to finding integrative solutions in the food science industry,” said Peter Muriana, FAPC food microbiologist and symposium chair. “As a multi-faceted discipline, the food science program at OSU focuses on providing safe, nutritious and high-quality foods to the people of the world.”
For both the oral and poster presentation categories, prizes were awarded during the symposium. First-, second- and third-place winners received $500, $250 and $125, respectively.
Graduate students from the University of Central Oklahoma also participated in this year’s symposium.
“The intent of hosting a research symposium was to provide a capsule of the various types of research being conducted by graduate and undergraduate students,” Muriana said. “In the venue of a scientific meeting, students have an opportunity to practice in presenting their work and be more visible to the community.”
During the Gilliland Awards Luncheon, five students were honored with the Stanley E. Gilliland Memorial Fellowship in Food Science, a memorial fund established to provide scholarships for food science students. Graduate students Sitong He, Jessie Payne, Kaylee Rumbaugh, Xin Mei Teng and Kavya Gavai were each presented with a $1,000 scholarship.
“The first food science research symposium was in 2001,” Muriana said. “Since then, we have hosted 21 symposia in total. I think the longevity of the event says something in regard to the significance and standing it has for those of us who support its mission.”
Noah Jewell placed first in the graduate oral presentation.
“The best thing about completing research has been the development of critical thinking and communication skills,” Jewell said. “Research has allowed me to learn how to think more critically about problems and communicate them more effectively with my professors and peers around me.”
Keayla Harr placed second and Trinity Smith placed third in graduate oral presentations.
“I would encourage anyone who has an interest in research to simply talk to a professor involved in what they are interested in,” Jewell said. “Professors love to see students involved and research is a great opportunity to gain experience, knowledge and mentorship which you can apply to the rest of your life.”
Kavya Gavai placed first in the graduate poster presentation.
“The FAPC research symposium is a fantastic platform for students to showcase their research and gain exposure to new ideas and perspectives,” Gavai said. “As a student and a participant in the symposium, I was excited about the opportunity to present my research and gain insights from other participants.”
The symposium allowed students to apply the knowledge acquired throughout their academic career and demonstrate research skills.
“I strongly encourage other students to take part in the symposium since the experience is advantageous in developing their confidence, refining their communication and presentation skills and providing an opportunity to exhibit their research abilities,” Gavai said. “Conducting research and presenting findings at a symposium helped me to network with my peers and professionals, creating valuable connections that may lead to future collaborations and opportunities.”
Tisheng Shan placed second and Sitong He placed third in the graduate poster presentations. Jade Wilkinson received the first-place undergraduate poster presentation award.
The symposium featured a keynote address by Suparna Paul, deputy space food systems laboratory manager for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Sugarland, Texas. In 2004, she received her Master of Science in Food Science from OSU.
“We always have great keynote speakers, but this year’s keynote was extremely special as Suparna Paul was my graduate student from 2002-2004,” Muriana said. “I am always proud of having a student complete their dissertation and degree, but Suparna is the perfect example of an international student who entered the business world and achieved higher leadership positions in the area of food safety.”
FAPC, a part of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, helps to discover, develop and deliver technical and business information that will stimulate and support the growth of value-added food and agricultural products and processing in Oklahoma.