1. Kansas State University
  2. »Division of Communications and Marketing
  3. »K-State Today
  4. »Food science students win awards

K-State Today

May 14, 2021

Food science students win awards

Submitted by Randall Phebus

Sami Fischer, left, and Francisco Najar-Villarreal are recipients of 2020-21 Outstanding Food Science Student Awards.

The K-State Food Science Institute recently announced the 2020-21 Outstanding Food Science Student Awards. Sami Fischer received the Outstanding Food Science Senior Award, and Francisco Najar-Villarreal received the Outstanding Graduate Food Science Award. 

The awards are sponsored annually by the National Beef Packing Company — headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, with processing facilities in Kansas City, Liberal and Dodge City — to recognize exemplary academic and professional accomplishments, along with food science programmatic contributions, by an undergraduate and graduate student in food science over the entire duration of their degree program at K-State. Winners receive an engraved plaque and a monetary award presented by executives from National Beef.

Fischer is completing her Bachelor of Science in food science and industry — science option — and has excelled academically while making major contributions to the program. She completed internships at Cargill and TIC Gums and was involved in undergraduate food research and several outreach activities. Fischer demonstrated strong leadership in the food science program, serving as vice president and president of the Food Science Club and the Sigma Alpha agricultural sorority. In addition, she volunteered in various new student recruitment activities and is laboratory manager for the Kansas Value Added Foods Lab that supports the technical needs of food businesses across Kansas. Fischer completed the K-State Honors Program and was selected nationally into the prestigious Cargill Fellows Program. Her academic advisor is Abbey Nutsch.

Najar-Villarreal is completing his doctoral program which focused on understanding and controlling food waste, particularly retail-level meat waste due to losses in shelf life and color quality of fresh meat products. Additionally, he has studied the impact of transportation stresses on the well-being of livestock. While a graduate student at K-State, Najar-Villarreal has instructed multiple meat science courses and industry workshops, and his service and outreach efforts nationally and internationally across the meat industry are well recognized. He has been a dedicated asset to the food science and meat science programs as both a master’s and doctoral level student. Najar-Villarreal received his Bachelor of Science in food engineering from the University of Nuevo León in Monterrey, Mexico before arriving at K-State in 2014. His graduate program advisor is Elizabeth Boyle.