2018-19 Election Results

We are happy to welcome in the newest members of our leadership team for 2018-2019!


Chair Elect / Program Chair: 1 Year Term - Jennifer Farrell – Product Development Scientist, PEPSICO

Jenn is currently working at PepsiCo as a product development scientist for the Quaker Productivity group. She graduated from Purdue University with a food science degree.
She has been an IFT member for 9 years. In that time she has volunteered with the IFTSA, participating in the product development competition, and in college bowl through college. Since graduating in 2012, she has served on the CSIFT scholarship committee, also volunteering at the Golf Outing and Supplier’s Night. She has been secretary for the past 3 years and serves on the CFSF scholarship board as their secretary and fundraising chair, executing the Foundation’s first silent auction during Supplier’s Night this year.

Treasurer: 3 year term - John Budin, Vice President, PS&Q at FONA International, Inc.

John Budin, former Chair and current Acting Treasurer of the Chicago Section IFT, is employed as Vice President, PS&Q for FONA International, Inc. John has dedicated many years of volunteer service to the Chicago Section IFT. Prior to being elected as CSIFT Chair, John contributed his time and effort to multiple committee activities dedicated to educational and professional development.

Recently, he stepped back in the role of CSIFT Acting Chair to complete the term of a CSIFT Chair who relocated to a different city. John was instrumental in the creation of the CSIFT-initiated Chicagoland Food Science Foundation.

Secretary: 1 Year Term - Upasana Hariram, Project Leader, Merieux Nutrisciences

Upasana has a Masters in Food Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is currently the Project Leader for Shelf Life studies at Merieux Nutrisciences, responsible for leading microbial and chemical shelf life studies as well as sensory studies on a variety of matrices. Previously, Upasana was the Project leader at Merieux Nutrisciences for method validation studies as well. Upasana has served as an industry leader from a technical, professional, and volunteer background participating at several industry speaking engagements and being awarded the first annual New Member Award for outstanding service through the Chicago Section IFT. Upasana is also an active volunteer for the Chicago IFT Membership Committee and is engaged with national IFT in emerging leadership programs.

Executive Committee: 3 Year Term

Samantha Gardiner, Food Scientist, Griffith Foods

I am currently a Food Scientist at Griffith Foods and obtained my Master’s in Food Science from the University of Illinois. As a part of CSIFT over the past two years I have been very active in the House Committee, which decides and negotiates with the venue and determines the menu for the monthly dinner meetings. I have acted as the Co-Chair and am currently the Chair of the House Committee. It has been thoroughly enjoyable getting to meet so many people in the food industry through CSIFT and I look forward to more responsibility in determining the direction of the Section if elected to the Executive Committee. It would be an honor to serve you all!

Courtney Hayes, Senior Food Scientist, Griffith Foods

I am a Senior Food Scientists at Griffith Foods and have been a member of IFT and the Chicago Section for 4 years. I joined the Membership Committee as a volunteer in January 2015. Since joining the committee, I have helped successfully plan and execute our quarterly membership events, along with helping with member outreach, and the ambassador program. I became Co-Chair of the Membership Committee in September 2016.

Volunteering with the CSIFT has helped me grow professionally and personally and has significantly expanded my professional network in the food industry. I hope to use my role on the Executive Committee to bring new and exciting ideas to the section that encourage others in the industry to become engaged, help them grow professionally , and increase their passion for the food industry.

James Nasella, Global Food Safety & Quality Manager, Tate & Lyle

James Nasella is currently the Global Food Safety & Quality Manager for Tate & Lyle. Prior to relocating to the Chicagoland area, he work for Ottens Flavors/IFF in several food safety and quality functions based in Philadelphia. James served as the Scholarship Chair for the Philadelphia Section of IFT while in Philadelphia and has been an IFT member for seven years. James is a graduate of Drexel University (B.S. in Culinary Science 2011) and Michigan State University (M.S. Food Safety 2014).

Katie Potthoff, Regulatory Specialist, Kent Precision Foods Group, Inc.

It is a privilege to be nominated for the Executive Committee of CSIFT. The CSIFT has provided me numerous opportunities to grow my leadership skills and network with others in the food industry. I have been an IFT member since 2011; serving as a volunteer for the Golf Outing, Long Range Planning Committee member and for the past 3 years, chair of the Long Range Planning Committee. This past year I received the Outstanding Volunteer Award as recognition for outstanding volunteerism. In 2016 I was nominated to fulfill the remainder of a term on the Executive Committee due to a vacated slot. I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve, add value and contribute to the Executive Committee as a full-term member.


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