FNPS Department Receives USDA Higher Education Challenge Grant

A USDA Higher Education Challenge grant has been awarded to collaborators for a three year study within the Food, Nutrition and Packaging Sciences Department at Clemson University. The aim of the project is to establish a cohesive framework for implementing activities and experiences for sophomore students that will improve the industry-readiness of graduates in the food and agricultural sciences. Faculty and staff involved with the project include:  PI Dr. Margaret D. Condrasky, Dr. Duncan Darby, Dr. Julia Sharp, John Cooper, with assistance from  Dr. Aubrey Coffee. The project began in fall 2012 with information sessions and recruitment of sophomores for the program start-up in Spring 2013.

This cross- discipline collaborative program fulfills the needs of the modern food industry and to empower food and agriculture students with the skills and knowledge needed to produce healthy products for the marketplace. The project involves students participating in a two-semester, industry-driven program, devoted to the understanding and assimilation of fields within Department of Food, Nutrition, and Packaging Sciences. The cycle will be repeated twice for a total of forty students participating in the program as well as coordination of a comparison group of students.  The intent is to foster a synergistic emphasis area that focuses on the future of healthy foods for children.  Teams will work on recipe, menus,  product development, and programs geared to children’s food needs from ideation to packaging.

The project success will be measured based on a content knowledge test, assessments from employers, ETS proficiency profile, national survey of student engagement, creative learning assessment, and faculty survey of exiting students. The anticipated impact of the project is to assist in expanding the pipeline for recruiting and retaining under-represented students into the Department of Food, Nutrition and Packaging Sciences by adding to the unique experiential learning experiences offered.