Upcoming Events

Below is the list of events for the current Ohio Valley IFT year. Please note that dates and locations may be subject to change. Click on the event info link for detailed information.

  1. IFT Student Association – Food Forward Event

    September 29 - September 30


PresidentMatt TeegardenThe Ohio State University
Matt is the Senior Researcher in the Foods for Health research initiative at Ohio State, where he is responsible for the development and advancement of scientific operations and communications. Matt’s technical expertise is in food chemistry and analysis, but he is also a passionate leader and science communicator. He served as the IFT Student Association President, member of the IFT Board of Directors, Trustee of Feeding Tomorrow, several IFT task forces, and is now the host of IFT’s podcast IFTNext Food Disruptors. Matt completed his BS, MS, and PhD in food science at Ohio State. In his free time, Matt enjoys baking, traveling, and participating in LGBTQ+ intramural leagues in Columbus.
Past PresidentKathryn NixaGivaudan Flavors
Kathryn has B.S. in Microbiology, minor in Biochemistry from Michigan Technological University; and a M.S. in Food Safety and Technology from Illinois Institute of Technology. She has 18 years experience in Quality Assurance/Control experience. Experience with irradiation, meats, vegetables, & frozen pizza, LACF/Acidified foods, and more. She is currently with the Taste and Wellbeing division of Givaudan, as a Regional Quality Systems Programs Manager. She was previously a member in the Chicago and Dogwood sections. Currently holding the Chair position for OVIFT. In her spare time, she has a husband (who works in the Food Industry as well, 3 sons and a dog that constantly keep her on her toes!
TreasurerErica BoydGivaudan Flavors
Erica holds a Food Science and Technology degree from Virginia Tech, class of 1997 as well as an MBA in Food Marketing from Saint Joseph’s University. She spent the early years of her career in the meat processing industry, focusing specifically on innovation and new product development. In 2015, Erica started work at Givaudan Taste and Wellbeing as a Senior Applications Scientist, using her product development expertise to assist various CPG animal and plant protein customers to develop improved eating experiences for the end consumer. In 2021, she pivoted to a role within the sales team as a technical expert in the plant protein space. Erica has been a member of IFT since 1995 and has served on the Ohio Valley Section IFT board since 2016 in various roles. She has also served on the Muscle Foods Division board since 2018. In her free time, Erica enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, attending sporting events, and scuba diving.
SecretaryJennifer LessickADM
Jennifer is a Beverage Applications Senior Scientist at ADM/Wild Flavors & Specialty Ingredients.  Jennifer has been with the company for 15 years, starting in flavor creations and transitioning to beverage, where she works on finished product development of alcohol products. She has been a member of OVIFT for 10 years, serving the last seven on the Board. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Jennifer is accustomed to the disappointment common to Cleveland sports teams, but refuses to give up hope (there’s always next year!).  Now from the Northern Kentucky area, Jennifer enjoys cooking, baking, hiking in the summer, movies, and reading.
Newsletter EditorAmy BethelNestle Quality Assurance Center
Amy has a Bachelor’s Degree from Franklin University with a double major in Marketing and Business Administration. She has over 15 years of experience in strategic marketing and client services and is currently employed at Nestle Quality Assurance Center in Dublin, OH as a Marketing Lead. Amy joined IFT in 2017 and is serving the OVIFT board as Past Chair for the 2020-21 year. Outside of work and volunteering, Amy enjoys gardening, baking, spending time with her new son, Asher, and traveling the world with her husband, Miles, (nearly 50 countries and counting!).
Website EditorCristina Escober Kroger 
Cristina is a Corporate Sr. Food Scientist at Kroger Bakery and Deli Team Cincinnati, OH.   She graduated in BS Food Technology at the University of the Philippines and received her MS in Food Science from Oklahoma State University. During her graduate studies, she took on the role of Wheat Research Specialist for FAPC/OSU and published articles related to Cereal Chemistry. She eventually was at the beck and call of the food industry and has been developing frozen dough, desserts, sandwiches and pizzas for over 16 years. In her personal time, she loves to spend it outdoors with her son, travel, try new recipes and finish home projects.
Student Rep.Silvette Ruiz-RamirezThe Ohio State University
Silvette is a third-year PhD student at Ohio State Food Science and Technology Department. She is working under Dr. Jimenez-Flores guidance in the synthesis of galactooligosaccharide using acid whey. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Microbiology with a minor in Food Science from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez. After graduation she hopes to find a job where she can continue learning about carbohydrates and dairy. In the free time, Silvette loves to bake and watch tv shows.
Director at LargeKelley LoweAbbott Nutrition
Kelley has a BS in Food and Agricultural Engineering and an MS in Food Science both from The Ohio State University and over 17 years of product development experience working for Abbott Laboratories.  Kelley has been a member of IFT since 2005 and has served on the OVIFT Board for the last eight years.  During that time she has held a variety of different positions including Member At Large, Treasurer, Chair-Elect, Chair and Immediate Past Chair.  In her free time, Kelley enjoys cooking, exercises and spending time at the hockey rink with her kids.
Director at LargeRae’Shann DingleGivaudan Flavors
Rae-Shann is a Food Scientist at Givaudan Flavors since 2002. She joined the Board as Treasurer last year. Originally from Cleveland Ohio, Rae-Shann now considers Cincinnati her home.
Director at LargeKathleen IrwinJeni’s Ice Cream
Kathleen has a B.S. in Nutrition in Industry from Ohio State. She has 6 years of experience in operations, food safety and quality and is currently the Director of Production, Quality Assurance and Food Safety at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus. In her free time, Kathleen enjoys hiking, running and spending time with her husband, son and dog.
Director at LargeCathy HeilMane Inc.
Cathy graduated from Ohio State with a Food Science Business Management degree and works in Procurement. A member of OVIFT since 2014 & on the board for 6 years. In her free time she enjoys hikes with her dog, traveling, gardening and landscaping, reading and binge-watching TV with her husband.
Director at LargeRansom Wick General Mills
Ransom is currently a quality engineer with General Mills in Sharonville Cincinnati. He holds a bachelors of science in chemical engineering from the University of Kentucky. His career began as a quality engineer at a graphite production plant in Clarksburg WV where he received a six sigma green belt certification. After, he worked as a data analyst for American Sugar Refining global supply chain center of excellence team before getting his first start in food manufacturing at Schwan’s Food Company in Florence KY in 2019 receiving his HACCP and PCQI certifications. In 2022 he was hired on with General Mills as a QEII where he continues to use his quality and data experience to help improve food quality and safety. Ransom is married with a daughter (Stella, 2) and a son on the way. In his free time he cooks, plays drums, and gardens.
Director at LargeKari NowiskiJeni’s Ice Cream
Kari is a Senior Buyer at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus Ohio. Her career began in food production back in 2014 and has since evolved into 8 years of experience in supply chain and food production. Originally from Tennessee, she has found a home and family here in Ohio. In her spare time she enjoys baking, playing with her dogs, and dancing.

Position Descriptions
To learn more about any officer position, please refer to the OVIFT bylaws for further details.

Interested in being a OVIFT Board Member? Contact us at ohiovalleysection.ift@gmail.com

Our Mailing Address is: P.O. Box 787 West Chester, OH 4507