PULLMAN, Wash. — Girish Ganjyal first joined the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) as a PhD student at the University of Nebraska. Two decades later, the Washington State University scientist will help students and the global food science community through his new role as an IFT board member.
“I’m looking forward to playing a part in shaping the organization’s future,” said Ganjyal, a professor and food processing Extension specialist in WSU’s School of Food Science. “When I joined IFT as a student, I received a significant number of benefits and found many mentors who helped me build a network and shaped my food industry career. This is a fantastic opportunity for me to do the same for others.”
Founded in 1939 and based in Chicago, IFT is a collaborative forum for food professionals and technologists, offering resources, networks, and education that promote and advance the food science sector and its applications. Each year, the global organization holds an annual meeting and expo featuring ingredient, equipment, and food product development companies, as well as other industry players. IFT also provides peer-reviewed journals for faculty and researchers to publish their work.
“We are excited to welcome Girish Ganjyal to IFT’s board of directors,” said CEO Christie Tarantino-Dean. “We are confident that he will help lead the association in alignment with IFT’s mission, vision, and values while advancing the diverse science of food community.”
Ganjyal, who was nominated by a current IFT member, is one of four new board members selected for a three-year term that begins in September. He will be tasked with representing Pacific Northwest food industry professionals while helping guide the organization and its policies in ways that accurately reflect IFT’s membership.
“IFT has a lot of influence,” Ganjyal said. “The food science profession is changing, and we must adapt to an evolving society and make the profession more relevant for the future. If I can contribute in some way, I consider it a blessing.”
After their nomination, board candidates undergo a rigorous vetting process that includes answering questions on an application, participating in an interview with the selection committee, and providing references. Board members are frequently chosen for their unique life experiences and track records.
Ganjyal believes his varied background will allow him to bring a valuable perspective to the position. Growing up in India, he was inspired to pursue a career in food science after witnessing food waste in his community. After leaving his home country, Ganjyal worked for nearly a decade in the food industry, joining WSU in 2013. In his current research and Extension position, he strives to reduce food loss and add value to the economy.
Ganjyal hopes to use the new role as a tool to help WSU students while simultaneously highlighting the important work of WSU’s food science program.
“Our students are the future, and it has always been my top priority to help them,” Ganjyal said. “In this position, I hope to bring them resources, information, and mentors. This is also an opportunity for me to highlight what WSU’s School of Food Science does and elevate the broader WSU system by demonstrating the talent we have here.”