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Alumni > Past Winners


Outstanding AlumnusDr. Steve Otwell

Dr. Steve Otwell

A 1978 graduate (Ph.D.), Dr. W.  Steven “Steve” Otwell is a Florida Sea Grant seafood extension specialist and a professor in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department at the University of Florida with over 31 years of experience in all areas related to seafood safety and quality.

He is the founder and National Coordinator for the Seafood HACCP Alliance for education and training based in the United States and serves as the USA Board Delegate for the International Association of Fish Inspectors. He has been integral to the International Shrimp School, which is an intensive training program that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers its principal training program for shrimp processors and importers. Since 1985 he has served as the Executive Director for the Seafood Science & Technology Society of the Americas and maintains annual international schools on warm water lobsters and shrimp. In the fall of 2009, with the U.S. Seafood Industry suffering from fishing quotas and international competition, he organized a conference to address the State of the Union on Domestic Fisheries. Dr. Otwell is the Director of the UF Professional Sensory School. Last summer, after the Deep Water Horizon Oil spill, this school trained government seafood inspectors to use their sense of smell to evaluate potentially tainted seafood products harvested from the Gulf of Mexico. Using techniques learned from earlier oil spills, such as the Exxon Valdez in 1989, inspectors and regulators learned how to detect polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons — or PAHs — in fish, shrimp and crab.

Outstanding Young Alumnus

Rodolphe BarrangouDr. Rodolphe Barrangou

For an individual like Rodolphe, it is difficult to adequately describe his scientific breadth, depth of character, and intellectual abilities.  He was an extraordinary M.S. and Ph.D. student in all the capacities that one can measure a person’s development through graduate school.  In his ensuing professional career as a research scientist/leader with Danisco USA, his research intellect, drive, and organizational skills were largely responsible for the high profile/impact publications in Science and Nature on CRISPR sequences.  He drove the functional genomics approach used (via gene knockouts/delections) to prove that CAS proteins were functionally responsible for the phage resistance phenotypes elicited by the CRISPR/CAS operons in Streptococcus thermophilus..   This work is one of the new and burning topics in microbiome/genome biology and Rodolphe was the intellectual and managerial mastermind behind the scientific work and publication strategies; albeit, always recognizing that there were many talented scientists involved in this process.   In light of his scientific contributions, Rodolphe was invited in 2010 to present the Sixth Annual Leo W. Parks Distinguished Lecture at NCSU in Microbiology.

From Danisco USA, Rodolphe has continued to support the Food Science department in many ways, including arranging student interns, and directing funding for contract work on genomics into the programs working on lactic acid bacteria.


Outstanding AlumnusRon Heddleson

Ron Heddleson

Dr. Ron Heddleson received his Ph.D. in Food Science in 1995.  At NCSU, Ron won the 1994 IFT Dairy Technology Graduate Paper Competition.  After graduation, he joined GalaGen Inc., a start-up biotechnology company created by Land O'Lakes, Inc.  He joined General Mills (GMI) in 1997, and has made contributions to multiple divisions within GMI, including breakfast cereals, strategic research, Betty Crocker baking products, and Yoplait.  Major accomplishments within GMI include R&D's Achievement Award for Vision, recognizing accomplishment within the top 5% of the company, and launching the Yoplait Kids® cup and beverage yogurt products.  He currently serves as a Project Manager within the Progresso® Soups division.

Ron has served as Chair of the Northwest Section of the American Association of Cereal Chemists and the Executive Committee of the Minnesota Section of IFT.  He is most proud of his contributions to building an active, growing Minnesota Chapter of the NCSU Alumni Network.  Under Ron's leadership, the chapter is active in Twin Cities community volunteer activities benefiting charity organizations, hosting annual NCSU-bound Senior Sendoffs, and connecting recent graduates with employers in the Twin Cities area.  In addition, his involvement with the Pack Partners is leading to NCSU's first-time participation in Minnesota's NACAC expo, a college fair accessing 20,000 high school seniors.  He has also collaborated with several other NC State Departmental alumni within General Mills to initiate an annual silent auction and fundraiser for the department, inaugurated in February.  Ron has enthusiastically devoted his time to building a stronger alumni base for NC State and the Department, and is deeply appreciative of the opportunities his NC State experience has afforded him.

Outstanding Young Alumnus

Heather HudsonHeather Hudson

The NC State Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences is pleased to honor Dr. Heather Hudson as its Outstanding Alumni for 2010. After earning her Ph.D. in our department under the direction of Chris Daubert, she has gone on to excel first at Kraft Foods and currently at Bumble Bee Foods.

While at Kraft as a senior research scientist, Heather saved the company millions and increased productivity by stream lining processes and developing novel protein ingredients from by product streams.  At Bumble Bee Foods, she holds the title of Vice President of Process Technology and Research and Development and leads a team of engineers and food scientists in new product development, process development and streamlining operations.

At both companies she has had a focus on patent strategy and has 2 granted patents and 9 applications to date.  The ability to bridge communication gaps between individuals in research and development, marketing, procurement and quality assurance has allowed her to excel as a researcher and a technology manager. 

The knowledge and discipline gained at NCSU has helped Heather ascend the corporate technology ladder in the nine years since the completion of her degree.  She is now hoping to acquire some additional business acumen and skills to better manage research and strategy departments by completing her MBA at USC next May. 

Heather's forward-thinking and aptitude for communication, management and continuous improvement make her a success.  The Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences is proud to call her our 2010 Outstanding Young Alumnus.


Outstanding AlumnusJoAnna Foegeding

JoAnna Foegeding

The NC State Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences is pleased to honor Mrs. Joanna Foegeding as its Outstanding Alumni for 2009. Joanna earned her B.S. degree in our department followed by her certification as a registered dietitian at the University of Virginia.  Over the past 30 years, JoAnna has been an integral contributor to the research, extension and teaching efforts of the department. Her research areas have included enology, poultry and eggs, meats and dairy enzymes. She has authored and presented papers at numerous national and international conferences.  JoAnna has also been active in both the local and national IFT association, serving as Secretary for the Dogwood Regional Section and Chair of the Information Technology Committee.
Currently, JoAnna administers the department’s entrepreneurial assistance program which provides consulting, product testing and nutritional labeling for new food companies.  Her honors are numerous: Award of Excellence from NCSU-CALS, C.E. Howes Award of Excellence from National Egg Quality School, Texture Technologies Support Personnel Award and the Outstanding Faculty/Staff award from the CALS Alumni Society.  However, some of her most valuable work has been with our students.  Her advise is greatly valued by students. They honored her as the first staff member to be an advisor to the Food Science Club.  Additionally, her contribution as the Departmental Distance Education Coordinator has made this an important aspect of our department’s undergraduate and post-graduate education.  We are honored to have Mrs. Foegeding as our 2009 Outstanding Alumni. 

Outstanding Young Alumnus

Mary WhetstineDr. Mary Carunchia Whetstine

Mary Carunchia Whetstine has been named the department’s 2009 Outstanding Young Alumni.  Mary’s graduate work in Dr. MaryAnne Drake’s lab covered a wide array of sensory properties using instrumental and descriptive analysis of dairy products, in particular, cheese.  During her graduate tenure, she won second place in the ADSA Graduate Paper Competition and published 13 journal articles and book chapters.  Her graduate work was funded partially by the M.E. Franks Dairy Recognition and Education Foundation Fellowship.  Dr. Whetstine has done well in her career at Frito-Lay in Plano, Texas.  She has advanced quickly from her initial position as a sensory scientist to Tostitos brand innovation product developer. 
Mary was active in the NCSU Food Science Club during her time at NCSU.  This experience has proved influential to Mary as she continues to be supportive of the department’s current students.  This year the product development team has benefited from her review of their product proposal and her help in addressing marketing concerns.  Dr. Whetstine initiated the Frito Lay Graduate Award in Food Science, which is awarded based on academic excellence and continued potential for outstanding work in new product development.
Mary values her education and professional relationships at NCSU and IFT. In particular, she continues to advocate for the success of young food science professionals. Dr. Whetstine has established herself as a leader and represents NCSU, CALS and the department well.


Outstanding AlumnusFrank Edwards

Mr. Frank Edwards

The NC State Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences is pleased to honor Mr. Frank B. Edwards as its Outstanding Alumni for 2008. Frank earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in our department and took a position as a packaging specialist with Cryovac / Sealed Air in 1981. He now serves as manager of the Applications Development and Support group for that company. As a proud alumnus of NC State, Frank has maintained a close relationship to the department. He has provided lectures in the Packaging Course and lectured on teamwork and product development to the Capstone Course students.  Frank routinely gives Sealed Air / Cryovac presentations at Food Science Club meetings and is responsible for hiring 7 of our graduate students over the years.  He has served on the Industry Advisory Council and as a judge for the College Bowl competitions.  Whenever asked to contribute, Frank is always enthusiastically willing to give his time and resources for the benefit of the department.  
We are honored to have Mr. Edwards as our 2008 Outstanding Alumni. 

Outstanding Young Alumnus

Arnie SairDr. Arnie Sair

Dr. Arnie Sair has been named the department’s 2008 Outstanding Young Alumnus.  Arnie’s graduate work in Dr. Lee-Ann Jaykus’s lab was funded by a highly competitive USDA National Needs Research Fellowship.  He graduated in 2001 with a research emphasis on the development of methods to evaluate human enteric virus exposure through food routes.  Arnie was very active in the Institute of Food Technologists during his student career and distinguished himself in his service as president of the IFT Student Association. Upon completing his degree, Arnie was employed by General Mills.  He is currently the Wet Laboratories Manager in the Analytical Department at the corporate headquarters in Minneapolis, MN.
During his 7 years at General Mills, he has maintained his involvement with IFT, serving in leadership capacities on the Constitution and By-Laws Committee and on committees dedicated to the successful recruitment and retention of students and new professionals.  He also participated in the People-to People Ambassadorship program (China, 2004) and has led General Mills’ recruiting efforts in the Food Science Department at NCSU. Dr. Sair values his education and professional relationships at NCSU and IFT. In particular, he continues to advocate for the success of young professionals in the field of Food Science. Arnie has established himself as a leader and represents NCSU, CALS and the department well.


RDI Foods, LLC

RDI Foods was founded by Dr. Richard Hawkins (Rody) in 2002 as a contract consulting company which specializes in all aspects of food product research, development, and plant implementation.  It has grown to include Dr. Sarid Shefet, who earned his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Food Science from NCSU and Larry Chandler who received his M.S. from our department. This group has participated in workshops presented within the department and has served as judges for the Product Development class and competition.  Their expertise and willingness to help has been a very valuable asset to both the students and department.  We are pleased to present Rody, Sarid and Larry with the 2008 Outstanding Friend Award.


Outstanding Alumnus

Suzanne CaseDr. Suzanne Case
B.S. 1983, M.S. 1988, Ph.D. 1992

Dr. Case is currently the Section Manager of Ingredient and Process Research for Kraft Foods, Inc.  Suzanne has always conducted herself as an outstanding scientist and proud alumni of N.C State.
After graduation with her B.S. degree she went to work for Hardees Food Systems.  During that time she developed the start of her expertise in carbohydrates.  Realizing that she needed additional education to fulfill her career goal, she returned to NCSU. Her outstanding achievement during her M.S. program was readily apparent and earned her a prestigious USDA National Needs Fellowship for her Ph.D. Program.
Suzanne worked for National Starch for two years before moving to her current employer, Kraft.  Her career at Kraft is full of accomplishments, with a notable major contribution to the successful DeGiorno Pizza brand. 
Throughout Suzanne’s career she has always made it a point to help the Department of Food Science whenever possible.  This could be something as simple as making periodic visits and providing interesting industry insight to faculty, to being a key member of the Departmental Industrial Advisory Board (1997 – 2003).  Whenever asked to contribute, Suzanne is always enthusiastically willing to give her time and wisdom for the benefit of the department.  

Outstanding Young Alumnus

Robyn JonesRobyn Reynolds Jones
B.S. 1999

Upon completing her undergraduate degree, Magna Cum Laude, in Food Science at NC State, Robyn continued her studies with a study abroad experience in Asia, then on to graduate school at Michigan State University. While in school, Robyn was active in IFTSA, serving as student representative to the Employment Committee and chairing the Student Career Fair.

Robyn is currently a Science Policy Analyst with the Food and Drug Administration in Washington, DC. During her tenure with FDA, Robyn has received numerous awards for her contributions and teamwork.  She also continues her service to the community and profession through active involvement in national and regional IFT committees and events.  Robyn is also active in maintaining and strengthening NCSU Alumni support networks and is an avid Wolf Pack fan, still traveling to attend many home games.  She has served as the Capital Area NC State Alumni co-President for 2005-2007 and co-chaired an event in 2005 to raise money for the NCSU Eric Cranford Memorial Scholarship fund. Robyn has excelled professionally, established herself as a leader and represents NCSU, CALS and the Department of Food Science well.


Larry PierceMr. Larry Pierce, owner/manager of the Nahunta Pork Center

Mr. Pierce has supported the Food Science Department by allowing students to conduct major portions of their research within his operation.  During the remodeling of Schaub Hall, Larry allowed the Nahunta Pork Center to serve as a temporary “meat lab” while construction continued on campus. Larry has also opened his operation to undergraduate students as they conducted senior design projects.

Larry has served on various advisory committees dealing with the challenges that face the country ham industry in North Carolina and has participated in various workshops put on within the department.  His expertise and willingness to help has been a very valuable asset to researchers at NCSU.


Outstanding Alumnus

Barbara BlakistoneDr. Barbara Blakistone
M.S. 1976, Ph.D. 1982

Dr. Blakistone is currently the Director of Technical and Regulatory Affairs for the National Fisheries Institute, the largest seafood trade association representing national and international businesses in the U.S. Barbara is an active member and elected Fellow (2001) of the Institute of Food Technologists. She is a recognized researcher in aseptic sterilants and packaging technology and recipient of the 2000 Riester-Davis Award for packaging excellence from the IFT Food Packaging Division. Barbara continues to serve NC State University and the food manufacturing industries through her participation and organization of numerous scientific meetings and conferences. She also received Sea Grant funding from the state of North Carolina to work cooperatively with a seafood processor in the state and the North Carolina State University Seafood Laboratory at Morehead City on a project to assess seafood quality using ozone-treated water in processing.

Outstanding Young Alumnus

Erica Balmer Hanchey and Dr. Donn WardErica Balmer Hanchey
M.S. 2001

Ms.Hanchey currently serves as a Sensory Research Scientist with Frito-Lay, Inc., acting as a go-to resource to drive technical design and integration of sensory and consumer research for 17 product development brand managers and teams. She was awarded the Frito-Lay R&D “Breaking the Bounds Award” for her efforts. Recently, Erica has expanded her horizons by pursuing a Culinary Arts Certification and a Culinary Scientist Certification.

Erica has focused on building relationships between industry and academia through student development, recruiting and university support. She has chaired the IFTSA PepsiCo Power of One, serves as the NC State Campus Recruiting Manager for Frito-Lay, Inc. and participates in the NC State CALS Career Services PackNet program to provide advice to students who seek to enter the food industry. She also serves as the NC State Alumni Association Representative for Texas and as the President of the Dallas-Fort Worth Wolfpack Club.


DaviscoDavisco Foods International

Davisco Foods International is a family-owned business that is one of the outstanding innovators in the U.S. Food and Dairy Industries.

The association between Davisco Foods and the Department of Food Science started in 1987 with funding of a grant to study Rheological Properties of Whey Protein Gels in Dr Allen Foegeding's lab. Davisco Foods, at the time, were the sole world supplier of whey protein isolate, and they were interested in gaining a better understanding of precisely how the material functioned in foods. Davisco Foods is also an active participant and industrial member of the Southeast Dairy Foods Research Center. Along with generous donations of ingredient samples for research, they are always very willing to discuss current research needs and industry trends that increase our awareness of cutting-edge activities in the food and dairy industries. This "window to the industrial world" provides insight on how to design our teaching programs and inspiration for new research areas.

The department is grateful to Davisco Foods and the Davis family for their support and friendship.


Outstanding Alumnus

Dr. John J. Miles
Ph.D. 1993

During John’s graduate program at NC State University he helped develop a pilot plant sized continuous flow kinetic data generator. The success of this unit gave John the added education of becoming an entrepreneur. After graduation, Dr. Miles founded Microthermics, a Raleigh based company that designs and builds pilot scale units for processing design work for both the food and pharmaceutical industries. The past 12 years have seen the business grow, with Microthermics equipment now installed and operating throughout the world. The product line has expanded and numerous NC State students have found employment in the locally grown company. Microthermics displays their product line at the IFT Expo.


Outstanding Alumni

Dr. Lynn and Mrs. Beth Turner

Lynn and Beth have worked together as a team for almost thirty years, making exceptional and everlasting contributions to North Carolina State University and especially the Department of Food Science. They have excelled in teaching, research and extension activities.

Lynn is the teacher that all students love and remember. It is no surprise that he has won numerous teaching and advising awards. He was awarded the NC State Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor (2001-2003), named to the NC State Academy of Outstanding Teachers three different times and is a NACTA Teaching Fellow. He was also honored with the 2002 North American Meat Processors Association “Harry L. Rudnick Educators’ Award.”

Beth was a research analyst in the department until her retirement and is now a Senior Food Scientist in private industry. Beth is a dedicated scientist who provided valuable chromatographic and statistical expertise to the department. In addition to her scientific accomplishments, she also coordinated the departmental outreach program, organized an alumni advisory board and oversaw student recruitment and helped institute our NC State IFT Breakfast.

Where Lynn and Beth excel beyond all others is in their service to the department. They are always willing to assist with every function and activity. Their readiness to donate personal time has been a tremendous asset to students, the department and the university. The Turners have arranged to continue their support of the university by endowing the Eakes-Turner Scholarship for Food Science students.


Distinguished Alumnus

Major General Timothy A. Peppe
B.S. 1970

Peppe entered the Air Force as a graduate of North Carolina State University's ROTC program. He has commanded the 31st Fighter Wing, 47th Training Wing, a specialized undergraduate pilot training wing and the 82nd Support Group. He has also served as director of the Combined Air Operations Center at 5th Allied Tactical Air Force, as deputy assistant chief of staff for plans and policy at Headquarters Allied Air Forces Southern Europe in Naples, and as chief of the Rated Management Branch with the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel at Headquarters U.S. Air Force.

Prior to assuming his current duties, the general served as the director of joint experimentation at U.S. Joint Forces Command. While in this position he was responsible for the development, exploration and assessment of new joint concepts, organizational structures and emerging technologies while creating an organization from the ground up. He is a command pilot with more than 3,500 flight hours.

Maj. Gen. Timothy A. Peppe retired as the Air Force chief of safety, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., and commander, Air Force Safety Center, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.


Distinguished Alumnus

Dr. Stanley Gilleland
Ph.D. 1966

Dr.Gilliland, Regents Professor and Sitlington Distinguished Chair in Food Microbiology at Oklahoma State University, is nationally and internationally recognized for his accomplishments in dairy food research and development. His research has focused on the beneficial aspects of lactic acid bacteria, particularly the lactobacilli, as probiotics for human and livestock and as biocontrol agents for foodborne pathogens in refrigerated foods.

Dr. Gilliland served as president of the American Dairy Science Association and has been recognized as a Fellow in both the American dairy Science association and the American Academy of Microbiology. He serves as dairy-foods section editor for the Journal of Dairy Science and as coordinator for the OSU Food Science graduate program.

Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC  27695
(919) 515-2951