The Nutrition, Food Science, and Packaging Department welcomes their first SAGE cohort

By Jacqueline J. Bergman

Spring 2023 marks an exciting milestone for San José State University’s Nutrition, Food Science, and Packaging (NUFS) Department as it welcomes its inaugural SAGE (Spartan Accelerated Graduate Education) cohort into its groundbreaking program. The NUFS SAGE program opens up a fast-track pathway to a graduate degree in nutritional science for undergraduate students pursuing the Nutritional Science program. Offering three specialized concentrations—Food Management, Applied Nutrition and Food Sciences, and Dietetics—the program equips students with invaluable skills tailored to their career aspirations.

Enrolling in the Food Management concentration prepares students for dynamic roles in the food industry, with esteemed companies like Bon Appetit, Compass, and Marriott eagerly seeking their talents. Those pursuing Applied Nutrition and Food Sciences delve into the realm of food science, health education, and nutrition, while Dietetics students gain eligibility to become registered dietitians with a master’s degree—a requirement set to take effect in 2024.

The NUFS department is thrilled to announce the recent approval of an additional SAGE pathway within the packaging program, solidifying its pioneering position in SAGE initiatives. This innovative program empowers students to thrive in the industry as package design engineers, sustainability engineers, and other related roles, equipping them with the expertise and abilities essential for success.

The SAGE programs at San José State University are just the tip of the iceberg, as the university continues to expand its offerings to enrich students’ education and career prospects. By completing both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in less time and with reduced expenses, participants gain a competitive edge in the job market. The future holds immense promise for the SAGE programs and the exceptional students who embark on this transformative journey.

For more information about the NUFS SAGE programs, please contact SAGE Program Coordinator, Dr. Xi (Alex) Feng,, 408-924-3105.

Packaging Program Hosts WestPak Expo, 2023

By Jacqueline J. BergmanSan José State University’s (SJSU) packaging program recently hosted the WestPak Expo, a two-day event featuring speakers from the packaging industry. The event, which was fully funded by industry sponsors, drew approximately 60 attendees, including packaging students from SJSU.

The event featured several notable speakers, including Mark Doutt, packaging director at Meta (Facebook) and founder of Apple’s packaging team; Paul Russell, retired from Amazon and founder of HP’s packaging team; JJ Wang, packaging manager at Google; and Nora Crivello, CEO of WestPak and longtime supporter of SJSU’s packaging program.

Abby Chan, president of the Student Packaging Association at SJSU, spoke highly of the event, saying, “Westpak Expo is an amazing opportunity that is given to SJSU students. We are able to listen to packaging professionals in different industries [giving] us personal insight into their work and experiences. This event also gives us a chance to share a meal with these professionals, to network, and ask them any questions we want. Westpak Expo provides a unique experience that most students aren’t able to come by. Westpak Expo is my favorite event to attend as an SJSU packaging student.”

The event included several panel discussions covering topics such as sustainability in packaging, packaging automation, and the future of e-commerce packaging. Attendees also had the opportunity to network with professionals in the packaging industry.

One unique aspect of the event was the large number of SJSU alumni who served as speakers. Of the 27 speakers at the event, 15 were SJSU alumni from the packaging department.

The WestPak Expo, set to be held at SJSU every spring, presents an exceptional opportunity for packaging students to immerse themselves in a transformative experience, learning from and networking with esteemed industry professionals. However, the benefits extend far beyond the students, as the WestPak Expo acts as a catalyst for faculty and industry growth. For faculty members, it serves as a prominent platform to showcase their expertise, establish invaluable connections, and remain at the forefront of industry advancements.

This event sparks collaborations, fuels research partnerships, and opens doors for consulting engagements and talent acquisition. Simultaneously, industry professionals gain exclusive access to a targeted audience, enabling them to share their knowledge, showcase innovative solutions, and elevate brand recognition. In essence, the WestPak Expo acts as a powerful bridge, fostering collaboration, driving knowledge exchange, and propelling both faculty and the industry towards unparalleled professional growth.

For more information about the Department of Nutrition, Food Science, and Packaging’s Packaging Program or WestPak Expo please contact:

Dr. Ashwini Wagle
408-924-3100 /

Packaging Program Director and Advisor:
Edmund Tang /

Food as Art: A Cross-College Collaboration

By: Liza Madrid and Winnie Liao

The Nutrition, Food Science, and Packaging Department had an amazing opportunity to showcase their skills sets with the Art Department late this year. This event was held in the Art Department within the Community Table Art Exhibition at San José State University on November 4, 2021. In the NuFS 22, Catering and Beverage Management course, students were displaying their knowledge of basic catering through extravagant foods. Professor Jamie Kubota and Chef Todd Engstrom were the stars of the menu creation which featured: Smoked turkey bacon cranberry pinwheels, cauliflower ceviche, crostini with carrot top pesto and whipped goat cheese, pumpkin whoopie pies, and dark chocolate truffles. Each of these appetizers was carefully crafted by the nutrition students in Chef Todd’s NuFS 22 class. This event was a great opportunity for the NuFS 22 students to showcase their culinary skills to the art department and the community. Not only was the art department able to get a deeper sense of the skills, teachings, and techniques that can be learned in the nutrition department, but the nutrition students were also able to get more of an understanding of the projects and artwork that the art students work on throughout the semester. Essentially, both departments were able to get a new perspective on each other’s work. This is extremely significant as it may inspire students to get involved in other departments, community events, and volunteer with other organizations.

Nutrition students, Winne Liao and Liza Madrid, both stated that the Community Table Art Exhibition was the perfect event to get hands-on experience in the culinary field. Liza Madrid stated that “…the best part of the event was that it allowed us to see what Chef Todd Engstrom used to do as a full-time caterer and how hard he has worked to become extremely knowledgeable in his field. His passion for the culinary field is truly inspiring.”Winnie Liao was quoted saying, “I really enjoyed this event. I was able to apply my previous experiences and skills of baking to this event, which made it even more fun! I hope for more events like this in the future.”

Overall, the Community Table Art Exhibition was a tremendous success among the students, faculty, and visitors. Each and every student from both departments should be proud of the hard work put in to make this community event possible!

SJSU Ranked 2nd Among Best Packaging Programs

Great news for the College of Applied Sciences and Arts as the Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging (NUFS) ranked 2nd in the top 20 best value packaging programs of 2017 in the United States, according to Value Colleges.

Ashwini Wagle, Department Chair of NUFS, was excited to hear the news and is eager to become the best packaging program in the country. “We will strive for the number one spot,” said Wagle.

Value Colleges offers researched, straightforward, and practical answers about value and affordability for college bound students making college decisions. The website features articles about college costs and benefits, as well as numerical rankings of institutions and degree programs.

Click here to read Value Colleges’ article on the top 20 best value packaging programs of 2017.

Professor Fritz Yambrach Receives the 2017 DuPont Diamond Award

Professor Fritz Yambrach, Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging, developed the Fritz™ Water Vest that enables people in disaster areas, or areas where water is not easily available, to transport water. The vest allows people to carry up to 20 pounds of water easily and safely.

DuPont announced the 2017 winners of the DuPont International Innovative Package Design Competition, honoring companies that have demonstrated major advancements in packaging technology to address the diverse and particular needs of consumers in markets around the world. The Fritz™ Water Vest received the highest honor, the Diamond Award.

Click here to read DuPont’s official announcement.

Congratulations to Professor Yambrach on receiving this prestigious award!