The Advisory Council for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Food Science serves as an external advisory group to the Chair, faculty and students of the department. Members are asked for counsel and advice concerning programs in teaching, research and extension for the Department of Food Science. The Council represents the variety of stakeholders with whom the department, through its programs, interact. It serves as a two-way communication channel providing advice and counsel on those issues which the Chair brings to the Council and serving as a mechanism by which concerns from the stakeholders can be brought to the attention of the Chair.
Advisory Council Members
Vice President of Business Transformation, Rich Products Corporation
Kristin Alongi is the Vice President of Business Transformation at Rich Products Corporation, a frozen food manufacturer, in Buffalo, NY. She is responsible for overseeing Rich’s Transformation Office and shaping Transformational strategy and governance to deliver new levels of performance related to growth, productivity, and capabilities.
Prior to this role, Kristin was the Vice President of Executive Team Governance and Strategic Planning where she was responsible for fostering the development and heightened performance of Rich’s Executive Leadership Team, leading strategic initiatives, and overseeing the Enterprise Strategic Planning Process. Other past experiences include overseeing Rich’s New Product Development & Innovation portfolio management, go-to-market process strategy, and four years as an R&D product developer for Rich’s Innovation and Bakery Teams.
She was the Valedictorian of Hamilton College, with a BA in Chemistry, and holds both an MS in Food Science from Cornell University, and an MBA from SUNY Oswego. Past research expertise includes juice processing, and Computational Chemistry.
Kristin sits on two Cornell University Advisory Councils: Food Science and Cornell AgriTech (Chair). Previous leadership includes serving on the Massachusetts’s Avenue Project Board of Directors (2018-2019) and as a member (2010-2014) and Chair (2012) of the Western New York Institute for Food Technologists.
Co-Founder/Technical Manager with g-works, General Mills
Illeme is a Co-Founder/Technical Manager within g-works at General Mills, where she is leveraging capabilities within the company and applying an entrepreneurial mindset to identify opportunities and create new business in high growth spaces to accelerate General Mills growth initiatives. Most recently, she was an Associate Manager in the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition at General Mills, where she had accountability for Nutrition, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs for the Convenience and Food Service Business Segment, as well as Omnichannel Acceleration through Child Nutrition Programs. In the last 12 years at General Mills, she has held various positions, including management roles in Product Development, External Innovation, Health and Wellness Communications.
Illeme serves on the Board of Directors for Provider’s Choice Inc, an organization that supports Childcare professionals who serve healthy meals and snacks. She is also the Founder and Managing Owner of ShoMikks Custom Jewelry and Accessories.
Illeme has an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Food Science from Cornell University, where she conducted her research under the Mentorship of Professor Olga Padilla-Zakour. She has a B.S. in Food Science, with a Minor in Chemistry from Alabama A&M University.
Advisory Council Incoming Chair; Senior Technical Services Manager, TIC Gums
Tim Andon is the Senior Technical Services Manager at TIC Gums, Inc. He has more than 16 years’ experience in a variety of functions including purchasing, technical sales, business development, and R&D.
His current role in R&D focuses on working closely with customers to address technical issues and develop customized solutions. He is also heavily involved in training new food scientists for future roles in the company. Tim has a B.S. in Food Science from Cornell University.
CEO, American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI)
Alison Bodor is President and CEO of the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI), the member driven national trade association that advances the interests of all segments of the $50 billion frozen food and beverage industry.
As president and CEO Bodor is working to deliver member value by ensuring that AFFI’s activities contribute to both the individual company and collective success of the industry. Bodor is leading efforts to deliver on AFFI’s strategic plan to advance food safety, advocate for frozen, increase consumption and grow resources. Her mission is to ensure that frozen foods and beverages are proudly chosen to meet the needs of a changing world.
Prior to her tenure at AFFI, Bodor served as executive vice president of the National Confectioner's Association (NCA) where she provided strategic leadership across multiple disciplines while directly leading the association’s public policy and advocacy team. In this capacity, she oversaw NCA’s legislative, regulatory and research priorities around health, food safety, agriculture and trade policy, and the cocoa supply chain.
Bodor also held positions in domestic and international regulatory compliance at McCormick & Company and the U.S. Dairy Export Council before joining NCA in 2000. Early in her career, Alison worked for Technical Assessment Systems and then Environ International Corporation conducting dietary risk assessments for the food and agricultural industries.
She holds an MBA from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s degree in Food Science from Cornell University.
Director of Strategic Growth, Compusense, Inc.
Bryson C. Bolton has 15 years of experience as a Sensory Scientist in the food industry. He's trained descriptive panels, conducted multi-location consumer studies, moderated focus groups, led and managed sensory groups on the client and vendor side, and built a sensory program for a flavor company.
Bryson has instructed several sensory courses for IFT and worked as an adjunct instructor for Dominican University, in River Forest, IL. He is a former IFT Board Member and active volunteer who enjoys motivating and inspiring the next generation of food and sensory scientists through professional coaching and mentoring.
Currently, he is the Director of Strategic Growth, at Compusense. This software company provides web-based platforms to design, recruit, and analyze sensory, consumer, and quality studies for the product research community. He works with senior management to identify, develop, and implement effective strategies to increase and retain customers and drive revenue. He also leads and manages the sales and marketing team. This role allows him to use his deep understanding of sensory science, interest in technology solutions, and his forward-thinking mindset for strategy.
Bryson is from the south side of Chicago. He has a BS in Food Science from Alabama A&M University and an MS in Food Science with a concentration in Sensory Science from Cornell University. He resides in the Chicago area with his wife and daughter.
VP of Viticulture, Chemistry and Enology, E&J Gallo Winery
Dr. Nick Dokoozlian is the Vice President of Viticulture, Chemistry and Enology at E&J Gallo Winery in Modesto, CA. He also serves as the Research Chair for the National Grape and Wine Initiative, as well as an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Viticulture and Enology.
Prior to joining E&J Gallo, Dokoozlian was a member of the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis, where his research focused on the effects of cultural practices and environmental factors on grape and wine composition. Dr. Dokoozlian received his PhD in Plant Physiology from the University of California, Davis.
Julia Fritsch – Senior Director, R&D Global Platform Lead for Energy and Hydration at PepsiCo
Julia Fritsch is the Senior Director of R&D Platforms for Energy and Hydration beverages at PepsiCo. She plays a strategic role partnering with the Business, Region and Functional R&D teams to identify and scope projects that enable PepsiCo to deliver against its key priorities. This also ties in with informing the long term R&D agenda and guiding budget prioritization.
Julia has been working for PepsiCo for 17+ years.
Prior to this role, Julia spent 3.5 years with the North America Beverages team leading the Hydration and Food Service agendas where she was responsible for executing Product, Packaging and Food Service Equipment launches across North America, acting as a liaison between R&D, Marketing, Finance and Supply Chain for both categories.
Prior to that she spent 8 years with PepsiCo Latin America Beverages where she led New Product Development for Water+, New Sparkling and Energy categories with teams in Brazil and Mexico, while also leading Innovation Portfolio Management across all beverage categories for the LATAM region. Additional experience gained in earlier roles at PepsiCo R&D were in Product Development across multiple product categories: Colas, Dairy, Enhanced Water and Juice.
Julia holds both a B.S. and M.S. degrees in Food Science from Cornell University where she currently serves as an Advisory Council member. She is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Senior Director, Global Food Applications at Ingredion
Hazel is currently Senior Director of Global Applications at Ingredion. She has 17+ years of experience in the food industry in both business-to-consumer and business-to-business companies. In her current role at Ingredion, Hazel drives food applications and formulation expertise, partnering to launch innovative, sustainable product solutions and devoting focus to developing talent within the organization. As a leader and collaborator, she directs high priority initiatives across multiple business categories to deliver customer-centric solutions for the creation of breakthrough innovations.
Prior to joining Ingredion, Hazel worked for 14 years at Kraft Foods and Mondelēz International where she led teams to drive quality, innovation and create sustainable value for some of the world’s most iconic snack food brands including Oreo, Ritz, Sour Patch Kids and Trident.
Hazel holds a degree in Agronomy from Universidad Zamorano in Honduras, a B.S. degree in Food Science from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and an M.S. degree in Food Science from Cornell University.
President, Camerican International
Josh Gellert is the President of Camerican International, a global food sourcing company, based in Paramus, NJ. Camerican sources fruits, vegetables, and seafood from around the world delivering these products to customers that include Walmart, Costco, Panera Bread, Sysco, and Campbell Soup.
Prior to joining Camerican, Josh worked in various positions. He began his career as an investment banker at JP Morgan Chase. After graduating from business school, Josh, joined Oliver Wyman as a management consultant. From Oliver Wyman he moved to Nestle and worked in brand management.
Josh received his BS from Cornell University and MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Josh is a member of various industry boards including the Board of Directors for the Association of Food Importers and Council Member for the American Frozen Food Institute. He remains active in Cornell serving as part of Cornell’s Food Science Advisory Council, Agribusiness Advisory Council, Alumni Ambassador program, and is a guest lecturer in Cornell’s Supply Chain Strategy course.
Josh has a passion for food, travel, and playing sports. He resides in Mountain Lakes, NJ with his wife, Beth, and their three children.
Advisory Council Past Chair; VP of Operations and Research Services, The Understanding & Insight Group, LLC
After graduating Cornell University with a BS in Food Science and obtaining an MS in Food Science at Rutgers University, Leslie joined Unilever. During his career he has worked on an extensive portfolio of products including soups, side dishes, peanut butter, frozen complete meals, and beverages (both tea and non-tea based). Upon his retirement in 2014 after 35 years of service, he became the Vice President of Operations & Research Services for The Understanding & Insight Group, LLC.
Leslie has been active in both the local section of IFT, as well as national IFT activities. In 2021 he received the Calvert Willey Distinguished Service Award from IFT.
During his career, and even more so upon his retirement, he has mentored students and industry professionals.
He currently sits on the Food Science Advisory Councils for University of California at Davis, Cornell University and University of Massachusetts.
Vice President-Product Research, Dairy Management Inc.
As Vice President of Product Research at Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), Rohit leads DMI’s dairy product science programs in important areas such as milk powders, whey and milk protein ingredients and dairy co-products at major Universities to drive dairy innovation and sales on behalf of America’s dairy farmers.
Rohit has over 20 years of dairy foods R&D experience in industry and academia combined. During his tenure, Rohit worked at various leading dairy and food companies such as Nestlé USA, Bongards MN, and Kerry Americas where he provided R&D leadership towards cheese and dairy ingredient-focused innovation. Beyond his experience in industry, Rohit has also served on the Board of Directors of American Dairy Science Association from 2020 to 2023 and as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Dairy and Food Science at South Dakota State University from 2017 to 2020.
Rohit received his B.S. in Dairy Technology from National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, India and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Food Science with an emphasis on dairy science and technology from University of Minnesota.
Director Quality & Regulatory Affairs, 3M Center
Vice President of Qimei Organic
Jinzhou Li (Joel) is currently the Vice President of Qimei Organic, a multinational organic farming and food processing company in China and the US. Joel is also the founder of Whole Healthy Food, which focuses on therapeutic food ingredients for food, beverage, and dietary supplement applications. Joel has experience in start-up, export/import, e-commerce, farming, food processing, and marketing in the Chinese and American food industries. Joel has significant experience and expertise in plant-based products, including plant proteins, plant extracts, dried and frozen fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Joel got his Ph.D. degree in Food Science from Cornell University, MS degree in Human Nutrition from Columbia University, and BE degree in Food Science and Engineering from Tianjin University in China. Joel's main interests include discovering, developing, and supplying healthy food ingredients and final products from natural and organic food sources. He is devoted to promoting effective communication between food industries that span across different countries.
CEO/President, New England Natural Bakers, Inc.
Chuck Marble is an experienced executive in the food industry, with the capacity of managing all facets of a corporation both domestically and international. He has over 25 years experience in the Food Industry, including Executive Management, Sales, Marketing, and Plant Operations.
Most recently, Chuck has been working for New England Natural Bakers, Inc., as their new CEO/President. Formerly, Chuck was CEO for Elevation Brands, LLC and impacted the business by providing leadership and experience with pioneering Allergy Friendly/Gluten Free products, and value added sustainable seafood with the Ian’s and Blue Horizon Wild brands respectively. Prior employment includes Weetabix/Barbara’s Bakery as Executive Vice President North America, responsible for managing their North American business for Weetabix Food Company headquartered in UK. He is credited for quickly re-energizing their brands utilizing innovation, new sales strategy and leveraging operational synergies resulting in increased sales in US, Canada and Mexico. His experience spans meat, snacks, baking, and specialty CPG goods.
Chuck received his M.B.A. from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He achieved a B.S. from Cornell University in Food Science and an A.A.S. degree from Alfred State College in Animal Science. He is currently serving on the Cornell University Food Science Advisory Council. His lifetime Eagle Scout achievement provides his foundation of leadership, values and business ethics.
Senior Vice President of Global Quality, Food Safety & Regulatory Affairs, Chobani
Dr. Alejandro Mazzotta was appointed Vice President of Global Quality, Food Safety and Regulatory Affairs with Chobani in 2013. Prior to joining Chobani, Dr. Mazzotta worked for Campbell Soup Company, McDonald’s Corporation, Pillsbury/General Mills, and National Food Processors Association (currently GMA, Grocery Manufacturers Association).
Dr. Mazzotta was elected to serve in the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Executive Board for a five-year term of successive positions, assuming the IAFP presidency in 2016. He is currently serving as IAFP Past President. Dr. Mazzotta was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) from 2004 to 2009. He serves on the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia (CFS) and the BioMerieux Industry advisory boards, and is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists.
Dr. Mazzotta has published more than 25 publications in peer reviewed scientific journals in both English and Spanish, and has spoken at numerous international meetings and symposia. He served on the Editorial Boards of Applied and Environmental Microbiology from the American Society for Microbiology and the Journal of Food Protection from International Association for Food Protection (IAFP).
Dr. Mazzotta has been appointed as Adjunct Professor at Cornell University’s Department of Food Science. A native of Argentina, he earned a B.S./M.S. (1985) degrees in Biological Sciences from the University of Buenos Aires, and a Doctoral Degree (1997) in Food Science from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
Director, Division of Milk Control & Dairy Services, NYS Dept. of Ag & Markets
Casey McCue is the Director of Milk Control and Dairy Services at the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Casey has been involved in the dairy industry his entire life. Growing up, he was deeply involved with his grandparent’s dairy farm in Lewis County.
Casey attended SUNY Canton and earned his Associates Degree in Dairy Foods. Before entering public service, he worked for Kraft General Foods in their cream cheese facility in the Quality Assurance Department and as a Certified Milk Inspector for Lowville Producers Dairy Cooperative. Casey started with New York State in 2000 as a Dairy Products Specialist, then in 2006 as the Compliance and Enforcement Coordinator. In 2009, he became Program Manager; in 2012, the Director of Milk Control, and added Dairy Services in 2015. Currently, Mr. McCue supervises a staff of approximately 50 and is responsible for the statewide dairy regulatory program as well as dairy services functions at the Department, such as licensing and producer security.
In addition, Casey participates in a number of industry organizations, serving in several leadership roles: past president of NADRO (National Association of Dairy Regulatory Officials), Executive Board member for the NCIMS (National Conference of Interstate Milk Shipments), Chair of the Liaison Committee between the NCIMS and FDA and as an Executive Board member of the NYS Association of Food Protection.
Director R&D, North America Disruptive R&D at Kraft Heinz
Meghan Mcilroy is Director in North America Disruptive R&D at Kraft Heinz, a trusted food producer of a wide ranging food and beverage portfolio, based in Glenview, IL. She is responsible for delivering on Environmental and Social Governance commitments on nutrition, sourcing, and net zero efforts. She also oversees US Export R&D and R&D Knowledge and Communications.
Prior to her current role, she was responsible for driving growth, managing costs, and ensuring business continuity through product development in the Kraft Heinz Cheese portfolio including brands such as Kraft and Cracker Barrel Natural Cheese, Kraft Singles, Velveeta, Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese, Athenos Feta and Hummus. Meghan also led R&D for Kraft Heinz Canada’s portfolio including brands such as Kraft, Heinz, Maxwell House, Philadelphia, and Renee’s across retail and foodservice business. Over her career, she has overseen major US product launches such as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Renovation, Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese Innovation, and Jell-O Refrigerated Ready to Eat Gelatin Renovation. Other past experiences include global research programs, proprietary ingredient development, portfolio management tools and commercialization processes, consumer research, product development, and quality system exposure.
She has a BS in Food Science from Cornell University. Past research includes Listeria characterization and milk spoilage.
She is active in Girl Scouts as a Troop Leader and Co-President of Lincoln Middle School Parent Teacher Organization. She also contributes time at work and in her community toward hunger relief and STEM education. Previous leadership includes Kraft Employee Fund Council Member (2005-2007) and IFT Scholarship Jury (2016, 2017).
Chief Food Scientist, Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.
Kathleen O'Donnell started her career at Wegmans as a part-time employee in the bakery. Following her graduation from Cornell University (B.S., M.S.), she became a member of the quality assurance team at Wegmans Meat Center, focusing on product quality assurance, environmental monitoring programs and product development. She developed the first HACCP program for the Wegmans Meat Center. Kathleen is now Chief Food Scientist and addresses issues of a regulatory, technical or scientific nature for food and non-food products.
Director - FSQA & Sanitation, POM Wonderful, LLC
Ashish currently serves as Director of Food Safety & Quality Assurance at POM Wonderful LLC. Before POM, he worked in different FSQA roles at Saputo Cheese and Leprino Foods. He holds a BS and MS in Dairy/Food Science and is passionate about continuous improvement, food safety, and leadership. He currently resides in Fresno with his wife (also a food scientist) and a daughter.
Senior Advisor, Food Safety, for The Acheson Group.
Dr. Ruth Petran is Senior Advisor, Food Safety, for The Acheson Group. As a passionate yet practical food safety scientist, Ruth is also the Principal and Founder of Ruth Petran Consulting, LLC in suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota. Prior to starting her own business, Ruth held technical food safety and public health leadership roles at Ecolab, Pillsbury, and General Mills. Dr. Petran is President of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) and served two terms on the US National Advisory Committee for Microbiological Criteria for Foods. She is a Certified Food Scientist and member of the Institute of Food Technologists and chaired the Minnesota Food Safety and Defense Task Force. Her Bachelor’s degree is in Consumer Food Science from Cornell University and she holds an MS in Food Science and a PhD in Public Health both from the University of Minnesota."
General Manager, Tastepoint by IFF
Erica Reiner is General Manager, Tastepoint by IFF. She is a people focused strategic leader with a track record of driving growth, value and profitability across a global portfolio. Her career experience includes middle market and large cap flavor houses with a focus on innovation and cross functional collaboration. Erica has served in several leadership roles with Flavor Extracts Manufacturers Association (FEMA), National Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), and the Chicago and New York sections of IFT. Erica holds a B.S. in Food Science from Cornell University and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at The International Institute for Management Development (IMD).
Managing Director, Cascadia Capital, LLC
George Sent is a Managing Director with Cascadia Capital, LLC where he helps lead the firm’s Food, Beverage and Agriculture practice. Cascadia is a national investment banking firm, based in Seattle, Washington, with offices throughout North America. Mr. Sent has been in the Food industry for over twenty years, having served as an executive with the J.M. Smucker Company where he led the company’s Corporate Finance and Investor Relations groups, and for the past 17 years he has worked as an investment banker, advising corporate clients and family-owned Food businesses.
Prior to Cascadia Capital, Mr. Sent was the head of Food & Beverage M&A at KeyBanc Capital Markets. Prior experiences in investment banking include time with Lazard Freres, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs. Mr. Sent is a graduate of University of Cincinnati (cum laude) and Cornell’s Johnson School of Management, where he earned his M.B.A and was a Johnson School Finance Fellow. Prior to graduate school, he was a C.P.A and consultant (notably with Arthur Andersen). Mr. Sent served on the Cornell Food Science Advisory Council from 2015 to 2019. He has also served as lead independent director for Lifeway Foods (ticker: LWAY), and for a decade he was on the advisory board for virtual reality company, Magic Leap which raised $2B between 2011 and 2021.