Advancing Experiential Learning of Food Science for Engineering Students to Meet Processing Innovation Demands in the Food Industry

This project is a United States of America Department of Agriculture (USDA) funded Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates (REEU) summer program at the University of Tennessee (UT) – Knoxville. The goal of the program is to advance experiential learning of food science for engineering students to meet processing innovation demands in the food industry.

The objectives of this REEU program are to: 1) increase these engineering students’ knowledge of the food science discipline; 2) develop students’ interest in pursuing graduate education and/or future careers in food processing and engineering; 3) help them understand the land-grant university missions, 4) enhance their soft skills necessary for future success in the food industry; and 5) provide post-program advising and networking to sustain our mentoring relationship.

Over four years (2022-2025), about 32 undergraduate students with Chemical Engineering, Agricultural Engineering, Food Processing, and other engineering-related backgrounds are recruited nationally to this program as USDA REEU Scholars. The Scholars will be trained in the cross-disciplines of food chemistry and engineering through a series of research, Extension, professional development, and networking activities.

Benefits of REEU

Graphic of the benefits of the REEU program, in clockwise order: Eight-week research and Extension; Industrial-based Project; Networking; $5500 Stipend; University Housing; Professional Development; and Engineering & Chemistry.

Program Highlights:

  • 8-week research/extension training opportunity
  • Mentoring Team
    • Multi-disciplinary team
    • Four engineering faculty (chemical, agriculture, and food engineering)
    • Four food chemistry faculty (bioactives, lipids, biopolymers, and flavor)
    • Graduate students skilled in both engineering and chemistry
  • Weekly academic programs and professional development training
  • Networking with peers
  • $5,500 stipend
  • University housing provided
  • Travel costs reimbursed
  • UTK campus is a one-hour drive away from the Smoky Mountain National Park

Important Dates:

  • Application open 12/15/2023
  • Application close: 2/29/2024
  • Award notification: around 3/15/2024
  • Program dates: 6/3/2024 – 7/26/2024