Empowering the Next Generation of Nutrition Professionals

By: Emilia Gomez and Giselle Garcia, Fall 2023 WHISK Ambassadors (and Jamie Kubota, WHISK Director)

NUFS 192, the senior capstone field experience, is a prime example of experiential learning provided to undergraduate students in the Department of Nutrition, Food Science, and Packaging.  Completed during one of their last two semesters, students self-place into volunteer or paid positions that augment their academic coursework and allow them to build technical skills and confidence, build their resume and professional network, explore areas of industry, and prepare for entry level work after graduation.  Potential sites include: hospital nutrition and food services or skilled nursing facilities, school districts, senior nutrition programs, food banks, restaurants, food science labs, private practice, and cooking classes and camps for children to name a few. In addition to an exciting array of off-campus opportunities, other students fulfill their field experience on-campus as CHEW instructors teaching cooking classes for their peers, working with SJSU athletics in support our student athletes, or within the NUFS&PKG department serving as WHISK Ambassadors.  Senior nutrition student and WHISK Ambassador, Emilia Gomez, shares her experience:

As senior nutrition students at San José State University, we have the opportunity to join and become Ambassadors for the program, Wellness and Health Inspired Student Kitchens (WHISK). WHISK allowed us to fulfill our NUFS 192 field experience on campus and to create a better connection with our fellow San José State students. As WHISK Ambassadors, it is important to understand the purpose of the nutrition program and the targeted audience. In this case, we provide student-led nutrition education and cooking demonstrations for the purpose of promoting healthy eating behaviors among the San José State community.

As part of WHISK, we plan events and conduct collaborative projects with other campus programs such as Spartan Eats, the SJSU Campus Community Garden, the NUFS Club, and SJSU Cares, to name a few. As our target audience is primarily college students, we strive to provide resources and create nutrition education that is appropriate for both on-campus and off-campus students. The nature of our work can vary depending on the specific event but some tasks include designing educational like fliers and recipe cards, leading online meetings, and holding tabling events that communicate essential nutrition information to diverse audiences. We also have the opportunity to conduct virtual cooking demonstrations via Zoom doing everything from planning the logistics of the event to engaging with participants. Called WHISK Cooks!, WHISK provides Hello-Fresh-style ingredient bags for the first 20 students to pick up a bag.  In each bag are the recipe(s) and all the ingredients needed to make each recipe. Participants then Zoom in to cook together or follow along from the comfort of their dorm room or home kitchen. Aimed at increasing cooking confidence and self-efficacy, these events also help address food insecurity among college students. WHISK also focuses on engaging with the San José State community by participating in events with other programs on campus to raise awareness about the importance of sustainability in food, reducing food waste, and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.

“Our professional development is enhanced by receiving hands-on experience and exposure to nutrition education. This allows us, as nutrition students, to apply our knowledge and skills to designing educational materials, conducting events online and in person, and engaging with diverse populations in our community. With this field experience, we are able to gain a better understanding of specific interests within the broader field of nutrition, which will allow us to make informed career choices as we graduate and enter the professional world.”

WHISK Ambassador, Giselle Garcia, echoes similar sentiments, adding “Although our event participants do not see the background work put into all these events, WHISK is able to provide experiences that help nutrition students to learn new skills that can be applied to future jobs.  In my opinion, WHISK is a small golden gem in the Nutrition department looking to help students inside and outside of the department to develop healthy relationships with food.”

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, xi.feng@sjsu.edu, 408-924-3105.

Explore the Mediterranean with Nutrition, Food Science, and Packaging this Summer!

By: Dr. Kasuen Mauldin

This Summer 2022, Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging faculty are leading three exciting international programs to broaden SJSU students’ perspectives in global citizenship.

Seaside in Sorrento

Professors Kasuen Mauldin and Giselle Pignotti are co-leading a 2-week Faculty-Led Program experience in one of the most beautiful areas of Italy: Sorrento. History, culture, scenic views and most importantly cuisine will be the focus of this Faculty-Led Program. Twenty-two students will spend time this summer visiting the beautiful seaside city of Sorrento. This area is known for its seafood dishes, olive oil, gelato, pizza, pasta and coffee. They will have hands-on experience learning from locals and creating their own delicious versions of many of these foods. The area is rich with history, including the ancient ruins of Pompeii and famous spots such as the Amalfi Coast, the island of Capri and Naples, where pizza began. This will be an extraordinary learning experience! Program highlights include:

  • Creating a 3-course meal at a local farm
  • Taking a guided tour of Naples
  • Sampling olive oils at a local olive oil factory
  • Spending a day on the island of Capri
  • Participating in gelato making
  • Assisting at a coffee factory in the processing of the beans from start to finish
  • Touring the Amalfi Coast
  • Attending a pizza making class
  • Tasting fresh pasta at the factory where pasta originated

Hummus, Yogurt and Honey in Greece 

Professor Deepa Singamasetti is leading two separate Faculty-Led Programs this summer. The one to Greece provides the opportunity to transport students to a place filled with archeological wonders, unforgettable mouth watering food and traditional culture. Fourteen students will spend two weeks discovering the Greek island of Crete, as well as the world famous city of Athens. Greece is known for its UNESCO world heritage sites, and the group will have the opportunity to visit important monuments and learn about Greek history, food, and culture. Program highlights include:

  • Touring the world famous Acropolis – a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Strolling the old historic district of Athens
  • Discovering culinary delights during walking tours of Heraklion and Athens
  • Participating in hands-on cooking class and learn traditional Greek dishes
  • Learning about ancient seeds and roll up your sleeves to make the traditional bread Paximadi
  • Discovering indigenous Cretan wines
  • Visiting a typical shepherd’s hut (mitato) in the heart of the Psiloritis mountains
  • Participating in the various stages of cheese making (and cheese tasting!)
  • Walking with an archeologist in the valley of Kavousi and meeting the island’s oldest olive tree (3200 years old!)
  • Enjoying traditional Greek meals family style in some of the most popular restaurants on Crete

A Taste of Spain

Professor Deepa Singamasetti’s second Faculty-Led Program will be an unforgettable experience in Catalonia, Spain. Known for its Mediterranean flair, this region boasts the finest in fresh ingredients: bountiful fruits and vegetables, amazing cheeses, main courses including seafood paella, desserts, and  sparkling wine. Fifteen students will get to know the beautiful cities of Barcelona and Girona as well as travel to charming villages in Catalonia, all the while learning about different aspects of its food and culture. Program highlights include:

  • Learning about the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle
  • Enjoying an authentic tapas dinner
  • Marveling at art at the Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali Museums
  • Tasting artisanal cheeses produced in the region
  • Visiting the famous Costa Brava near the Greek ruins of Empuries
  • Walking through an olive production area and then taste the olive oil produced
  • Cooking the Spanish dish paella the local way
  • Visiting small medieval towns in the Catalan region of Spain
  • Admiring the world famous architecture of Sagrada Familia and other famous Gaudi buildings
  • Learning about fermentation techniques used in the production of Cava (sparkling wine) in Catalonia

Photos from previous years’ trips.
Follow CHHS Students on their Faculty-Led Program adventures via Instagram @sjsuchhs.

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.