The 2022 Student Outreach Program was a success with 16 students able to participate from 12 different universities. Students enjoyed a Welcome & Farewell Gathering and they also participated in the regular Conference events which included a Beyond the Basics Program, Supplier Show, Technical Presentations, and had numerous networking opportunities.

Photo Highlights

Dennis L. Zak Ph.D. Memorial Education Award

Dr. Zak encouraged curiosity in the sciences but especially in food science and confections. This Award seeks to recognize a junior, senior or graduate level participant in the PMCA Student Outreach Program at the Annual Production Conference.  The award includes a $1000 Stipend and a commemorative gift  – an art piece entitled “Rainforest.”  It represents the many exciting global experiences and pathways that Dennis’ Food Science career took him and that continue to be available to students today.

The 2022 inaugural recipient of the Dennis L. Zak Memorial Education Award is Elisabeth Weir.  A graduate student at Penn State, with an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Elisabeth has an excellent academic record coupled with her passion for a broad application of the food science discipline. She is engaged in ongoing confectionery and sensory related research. Through her own words she exhibits involvement in many educational programs, internships, and research projects. She is studying various aspects of confections, nutrition, global health, sensory science and function.  Elisabeth’s natural curiosity, enthusiasm, academic accomplishments, industry involvement and follow through are characteristics of a student Dr. Zak would have admired, encouraged and supported had he met her.

Future Confectionery Leaders Award

The Future Confectionery Leader Award was created in honor of the PMCA Student Outreach Program’s 10 Year Anniversary in 2017. This award is presented to outstanding individuals who have participated in the Student Outreach Program, who now work in the confectionery industry, and who give back to PMCA. We strive to cultivate the leaders of tomorrow and volunteerism is an excellent way to foster that growth.

During the 2022 Program the award was presented to three outstanding women who have participated in the Student Outreach Program and who now work in the confectionery industry. All three have shown continued support to PMCA through various volunteer roles within the association.

Amy DeJong, Mars Wrigley

A little about Amy, Amy is an alumnus of our SOP from 2011 and 2012. She hosted a breakout session for our students regarding her time in the SOP program, her career path, and her time as a contestant on the Amazing Race. She is a member of the research committee and has been instrumental in our podcast program development.

Elizabeth Hagerman, The Hershey Company

A little about Liz, Liz is an alumnus of our SOP from 2014 through 2016. In 2019 she was a speaker during our conference on the topic of To Grain or Not to Grain: The Phenomena of Sugar Crystallization. She is a member of the membership and New Confectioners Welcome committee. She has also been a student mentor for two years.

Ashley Searing, The Hershey Company

A little about Ashely, Ashely is an alumnus of our SOP from 2015 and 2016. Ashley is a member of the Student Outreach Committee and has been a student mentor for several years. In 2020, she became the chair of the New Confectioners Welcome Committee. She currently serves on the PMCA Board of Directors.