Food security was focus of engineering technology summit

The second annual Engineering Technology Pathways summit on food security brought together faculty, staff and students from Purdue University and Ivy Tech Community College with industry and government representatives March 20.

The Engineering Technology Pathways: Food and Foodstuff Supply Chain project is the first engineering technology program in which a community college and major land grant research university offer articulated degrees with a concentration in the food and foodstuff supply chain.

“Our explicit goal is to help educate an advanced, technical workforce in the area of food and food security,” said Chad Laux, assistant professor of technology leadership & innovation, and one of the organizers of the summit. The summit is part of a larger initiative led by Laux at Purdue, in partnership with Ivy Tech, to create an academic concentration in food supply chain technology. The concentration is part of the engineering technology programs at both institutions.

During the daylong summit, Laux discussed the importance of Indiana’s bioeconomy, which includes companies and organizations who attended the summit, such as Brock Grain Systems, Indiana Packers Corporation, Indiana Department of Agriculture and Wabash National.

The summit included an industry panel, a poster session, time for networking and a special student roundtable on finding employment. The poster session focused on the academic side, showcasing curriculum development in food supply chain management systems and food security technology. Organizers also highlighted the program’s virtual learning community, among the first in the country, which has brought together 200 students from Purdue and Ivy Tech with their mentors to form an online community and support group for the program.

Representatives of the National Science Foundation, which is funding the first three years of the project, attended the event and assisted in the programming.

All sessions were recorded and will be available on Purdue ePubs and the BSET website.

Purdue offers the bachelor of science degree in engineering technology at its College of Technology locations in Anderson, Kokomo, Richmond and South Bend.

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