Ravi Jadeja recognized with Distinguished Early Career Faculty Award
Tuesday, February 28, 2023
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Ravi Jadeja, food safety specialist with the Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center at Oklahoma State University, recently was recognized for his efforts both in and out of the classroom.
During the OSU Awards Convocation, Jadeja recently received the Distinguished Early Career Faculty Award, which symbolizes his dedication to supporting the food and agricultural business sectors of Oklahoma by increasing food safety for consumers and assisting in the development of students for food industry careers.
He is a professor who enjoys sharing his expertise in the food industry with a sense of humor. He serves students and food industry clients in a variety of ways with classroom instruction, extensive research, and professional workshops at FAPC.
“I am very grateful to Oklahoma State University for the award and opportunity to fulfill my lifelong passion for preparing the next generation of food industry leaders and assisting the industry through research and extension,” Jadeja said.
Since 2015, Jadeja has worked in food safety for instruction to undergraduate and graduate students on campus. As an associate professor, he was awarded the Virgil & Marge Jurgensmeyer Endowed Professorship in 2021.
Roy Escoubas, FAPC director, said Jadeja works daily to teach and train students about food safety and prepares them for successful careers in the food industry. He trains and teaches Oklahoma food industry personnel in food safety and how to consistently manufacture safe, wholesome and high-quality food.
“Ravi has a passion for assisting businesses and helping citizens to learn and grow,” Escoubas said. “He is an asset to the Oklahoma food safety and compliance agencies as a partner to educate food inspectors and other representatives of the agencies to understand the science and technology behind the regulations and policies.”
Jadeja has been appointed by the commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Health to serve on the Food Service Advisory Council and offer recommendations to the Department of Health for food safety and food safety practices for the food service and restaurant industry in Oklahoma. He has created and developed eight new courses in OSU’s Department of Animal and Food Science, all of which relate to food safety.
“Ravi has taught 10 different courses all relating to food safety or quality management in the food industry and he excels in his academic appointment,” Escoubas said. “He enjoys teaching and his enthusiasm and capabilities are easily observed by his students.”
While at FAPC, Jadeja has participated in more than 190 industry workshops, and served as the lead instructor in 110 of the workshops. He created 15 new workshops related to food safety and currently serves as the USDA State of Oklahoma HACCP coordinator.
“Ravi excels in support of the food industry in Oklahoma,” Escoubas said. “He has engaged with food industry businesses to train or assist in hundreds of working food safety sessions and assisted 45 Oklahoma businesses to become food safety certified in third-party audit programs, allowing them to engage in the national and international commercial food trade.”
During these last eight years, Jadeja has published three Patent Disclosures, one book chapter, 35 peer-reviewed journal articles, made 32 invited technical presentations at national and international meetings and conferences and authored 43 food safety articles in the national popular or trade press. He holds 15 national and international certifications in food safety. He also received over $10.6 million in grant funding from federal, state and private industries to support his teaching, Extension, and research programs.
“As a highly motivated educator and scientist, Ravi has a passion for science and discovery,” Escoubas said. “He seems to be at his best when working with food industry personnel and can easily align with employees who work in the plants, or with leaders who own and operate the businesses. He is an asset to FAPC and a great ambassador for the university.”
Jadeja is active in the advising of undergraduate students, including 12 undergraduate research scholars, five high school research scholars, and served as the chair for two doctoral and 14 Master of Science graduate student committees.
“His undergraduate and graduate students quickly find employment because of his excellent mentoring,” Escoubas said. “He mentored 15 visiting scientists and scholars from Japan, Central America, Europe, and India.”
Cristina Popovici, Fulbright Research Scholar, earned her doctorate in food science from Technical University of Moldova and currently is a visiting scientist at FAPC.
“It is difficult to describe in words Ravi’s support and help in the period of my transition as a visiting scientist,” Popovici said. “From the very beginning of my arrival in the United States, he made me feel so welcome from the moment he picked me up from the airport and helped me with accommodations.”
Popovici and Ravi currently are working on a research project to develop a new product for people with Type 2 diabetes. Together, they researched the development of novel pecan milk ice cream for people with Type 2 Diabetes.
“I had the opportunity to visit several food industry companies he is working with and to attend his high-level workshops focused on food safety issues,” Popovici said. “It is important to have the opportunity to work with highly motivated, intelligent and hardworking people like Ravi, for which I am sincerely thankful.”
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.