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UMD Wins Regional ‘March Madness of Food Science,’ Places 2nd Nationally

By Samantha Watters

Three students from the University of Maryland’s Food Science Club reached new heights at the national Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) College Bowl competition, winning the regionals and placing second nationally for the first time.

The IFT College Bowl tests student knowledge in areas like food science and technology, the history of foods and food processing, food law, and other food-related trivia. Students first compete within one of eight regions across the country, with winners coming together to compete on the national stage in this bracket-style March Madness of food science.

“I really feel proud of our students that they can bring our program and university to the limelight,” said Abani Pradhan, associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science and faculty adviser to the Food Science Club. “We had a wonderful combination of experienced, energetic, smart and hardworking young food scientists on our winning team.”

IFT, a professional society for food scientists and food technologists, has been hosting the College Bowl since 1985. This year, the UMD College Bowl team consisted of three students, one shy of a full team: captain Stratton Wimsatt ’19, M.S. ’21; doctoral student Andrea Gilbert ‘14, M.S. ’17, who has participated in the College Bowl since 2012; and graduate student Abraham Moses Montemayor, also a chief warrant officer 2 in the Army Veterinary Corps.

The team defeated North Carolina State University, Virginia Tech and University of Delaware to win the virtual regional competition in March. At July’s national competition, which drew 33 teams, it lost only to Cornell.

“One of our strengths this year was that the three of us were strong in different areas. I felt I had a strong grasp on more of the food chemistry questions, Andrea excelled in food safety and microbiology, and Abraham was our regulatory expert,” Wimsatt said. “Making it as far as we did and being able to represent UMD on the national stage in my last year to compete is something I'll carry with me for life.”

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