Schaumburg native Ariel Cavazos had little knowledge of food science and human nutrition before she visited the University of Illinois as a high school senior.
“Never underestimate a field or major you find interesting,” Cavazos said. “I had no idea that food science was so fascinating or relevant to our society until I began asking professors at U of I about their work and job experiences.”
Asking questions helped Cavazos learn about the JBT Scholar program and eventually earn the title of JBT Scholar, allowing her to be recognized among the best students in the College of ACES.
“There is so much potential in the College of ACES,” she said. “Being a JBT Scholar has provided me with one more way to stand out from the crowd, especially at a school as prestigious as the U of I. I have already obtained many professional opportunities such as outside scholarships from major companies and organizations and valuable internship prospects due to the JBT Scholar program.”
Cavazos appreciates the support and enthusiasm from the faculty in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN).
“I love what I am doing now, and I would never have thought about pursuing this field of study without doing research and interviewing FSHN faculty,” she said. “I take great pride in my work and much of my attitude stems from the attitude of the College of ACES. It’s so much more than agriculture, and the faculty truly have the students’ best interests in mind.”
When she’s not in class, Cavazos enjoys being involved in the Association of Food Technologists, Institute of Food Technologists-Chicago Section, Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences, as well as a variety of social registered student organizations that allow her to take her education beyond the classroom.
“Academics are important but do not hesitate to gain practical experience as well,” she advised. “A stellar transcript and GPA mean little if you have no real-world experience to back it up.”
Open the original version of this page.