Students Wormald and Kim Win Prestigious Food Science Awards

Students Wormald and Kim Win Prestigious Food Science Awards

These UMass Amherst Food Science majors are headed toward leadership in their field

July 23, 2021

Winning a top-level scholarship in the competitive field of food sciences is a tremendous accomplishment. Winning two such scholarships in one year is a rare feat.

Christina Wormald

CNS graduate student Christina Wormald is one of the extraordinary few who not only won a number of prestigious awards this year, but also earned both of the top graduate scholarships in the Food Science field in one academic year.

Among Christina’s honors are the Institute of Food Technologists’ Top Graduate Scholarship, the Supplier’s Award for the Top Graduate Applicant for the Northeast Institute for Food Technologists, and the International Association for Food Protection Travel Scholarship. She also just won a 12 Minute Oral Presentation Competition for IFT's Extension, Education and Outreach program.

“UMass Food Science is ranked as the number one food science department in the country and number seven in the world, so I am extremely honored to get to represent my department at annual conferences and through these awards,” says Christina.

Her professor, Matthew Moore, says Christina was “a star undergraduate” who graduated with the UMass Food Science Feldberg Award for having the highest GPA among food science majors. She also received at least eight undergraduate awards and has had internships with high-profile companies including Cedar's Mediterranean Foods and Bigelow Tea. Currently, Christina is focused on both lab work to develop enhanced sustainable disinfectants for food sanitation and a project to create virtual education programs that help local food producers/processors improve their sanitation knowledge and practices. 

“Christina’s combination of both intellectual and emotional intelligence, superior leadership abilities, initiative, and organizational skills make me confident she will be a leader in the food industry in the not-too-distant future,” says Moore.

Minji Kim Receives Student Travel Scholarship

PhD candidate Minji Kim recently won a prestigious Student Travel Scholarship from the International Association for Food Protection. “It was an unforgettable moment. I was so proud to get a scholarship in front of a lot of people at IAFP under the name of UMass Amherst. I’ll continue to do my best to carry on this honor,” says Minji. 

Mini KimMinji has a BS and MS in Food Science from Korea’s Pusan National University, and immediately contributed her scientific knowledge and abilities to the Department of Food Science lab at UMass Amherst. According to Moore, Minji quickly proved she was able to learn and internalize new information/techniques, and demonstrated her dedication to the pursuit of research and ability to conduct it at an elite level. In fact, one of her goals is to lead research in food science as a faculty member. “She will do great,” says Moore. “Minji has a clear passion for food science and food safety — this, combined with her intellectual, mentoring, and research prowess, will make her an amazing PI."” 

He added that Minji also displayed an exceptional ability to work with and mentor others, including a number of junior students in the lab. Outside the lab, Minji has co-authored several articles for food science publications as well as presented her work at seminars. She is also working in very close collaboration with Min Chen in the chemistry department.

Minji's current focus is on developing novel, portable detection technologies for foodborne pathogens. “It could be a game-changing technology in the food safety/agricultural space if fully realized,” says Moore. “Her project can allow not only rapid, portable detection, but potentially also sub-typing ability, which is crucial for identifying foodborne illness outbreaks early, so that action can be taken to stop them much earlier.”

Congratulations to these Food Science trailblazers!

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