Rasco has served as interim director since March 2014 and will serve a four-year term as director. “Dr. Rasco has shown great leadership during her time as interim director,” said Ron Mittelhammer, dean of WSU’s College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. “She is an excellent choice for leading this unique joint program during the next four years.”
WSU and UI merged their respective food science programs in 2008 and this allows students to take classes at either university. The program includes 20 faculty members from both campuses.
Under Rasco, the school will support the regional food industry with technical and regulatory compliance assistance, while providing professional development for scientists across the nation and globally. “Food scientists are creative and visionary,” Rasco said.
“Our students can literally eat their experiments. We hope to promote a greater understanding of our field and its importance to both agricultural and human health. We have a great faculty and staff and together have the potential to ensure people have enough to eat and that their food is safe and high quality, and meets an individual’s unique nutritional needs.”
“Food processing is very important to the economy of Idaho,” said John Foltz, dean of UI’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. “There are excellent job prospects for graduates of the School of Food Science. They are in high demand by regional employers.”
“Barbara Rasco is an outstanding choice to lead the School of Food Science because she is a long-time faculty member with a balanced perspective on the importance of outreach, research and teaching,” Foltz said. Rasco has been at WSU since 1998 and prior to that was a professor at the University of Washington for 15 years and an engineer with Cargill.
Her research interests include developing methods to predict the safety and quality of food products, food processing, seafood technology, and aquaculture. A licensed attorney, Rasco also teaches and conducts research on food law, product liability, commercial law, and intellectual property.