by: Michele Perchonok, Ph.D., Alamo IFT Member at Large

As most of you know, the IFT Leadership election is open and will continue until March 2, 2017.  In the election, IFT members, in addition to voting for President-elect, Board of Directors and Nominations and Election Committee members, will be voting on the proposed new membership model.  I encourage you to vote in this important election.  And while you are voting, I wouldn’t mind if you would support me in the election for President-elect.  You can find my video and position statement by following the button below.

In addition to voting, would you be willing to contact your IFT peers including the members in divisions that you belong to and ask them to vote for me?  Here is a short summary of why I believe I am qualified which you can send to your IFT peers.

Michele Perchonok is a passionate and dedicated volunteer for IFT.  Serving as President-elect would be the obvious next step for Michele as she continues to help IFT meet the challenges of tomorrow by using the strengths of its members.  During her nearly 40 years of IFT membership, she has served in more than 30 volunteer positions in divisions, sections and working groups, including 7 times as chair.  She has significant strategic planning experience at IFT through task forces on Strategic Development and Governance.  She is proud to be one of the founding members of the IFT Product Development Division.  All of these opportunities has provided Michele a thorough understanding of IFT.

Michele worked in the food industry for 16 years followed by an additional 16 years at NASA/Johnson Space Center.  She has published more than 25 articles and 2 book chapters.  For over 12 years, she managed the NASA food science research.  She is now using her leadership and management skills by being part of the management team of the NASA Human Research Program.  She manages a team of 45 people with an annual budget of about $8 million.  In her current position, she has identified and implemented process improvements in science management.  Michele plans to retire from NASA in the next few months so that, if elected, she can devote the time required to focus on her new IFT responsibilities.

Michele is an IFT Fellow, a Certified Food Scientist, and was honored to receive the Cal Willey Award at the AMFE in Chicago last July. She has received several awards at NASA, including 3 group Achievement Awards and an Innovation Award.  One of the most noteworthy awards was the STS-118 Group Achievement Award.  Michele was recognized for working with Barbara Morgan, NASA’s teacher astronaut, to develop age appropriate science and math experiments for young students using food.  Inspiring future food scientists is one of Michele’s priorities and she has travelled to many universities to talk to the students about food science, NASA, and getting involved in IFT.  The award winning IFT video “Day in the Life of a NASA Food Scientist” has been used by Michele and other IFT members to prove to students that food science can be “out of this world”.

I will be retiring from NASA in the next 4 – 6 months and leaving Texas and the Alamo Section.  I have really enjoyed my experiences with the section and will truly miss it when I move to Denver, CO.

Thanks for your consideration.