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. Top Golf Outing

    September 21 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
  2. Suppliers’ Expo

    September 22 @ 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm


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!
Past PresidentKelley 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.
President-ElectMatt TeegardenOhio State
Matt is the Senior Researcher in the Foods for Health research initiative at Ohio State, where he is responsibe 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.
TreasurerRae’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.
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 EditorCathy HeilFlavor Producers
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.
Student Rep.Joel RamkhelawanThe Ohio State University
Joel is a first-year PhD student at Ohio State’s Food Science and Technology Department. He is working in Denis Heldman’s laboratory. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a minor in Food Safety and Defense from Universidad del Este, in Carolina, PR. As a DHS Scholar in Food Safety and Defense, Joel worked with the University of Minnesota’s Food Protection and Defense Institute. He earned a MS in Global Innovation Managagement from IAE Aix-Marseilles Universite and north Carolina State University.
Philanthropy ChairPaul BlumanLifeSpice Ingredients
Paul Bluman graduated from Ohio State with a double major in Marketing and Logistics. Drawn to the food industry right out of college, he has experience in consumer retail, industrial raw material and now the exciting world of seasonings at LifeSpice Ingredients. He currently resides in Granville with his wife and 2 young children, Beckett and Lila. Paul has been a member of OVIFT for 7 years and on the board for 5.
Director at LargeElizabeth MorrowAbbott Nutrition
Elizabeth is a Scientist in the Global Product Research group at Abbott Nutrition. Originally hailing from Minnesota, Elizabeth received her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis in 2012 and PhD in Food Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2018. During her graduate studies, Elizabeth was an active member of UIUC’s Food Science Graduate Student organization, serving in several leadership roles. In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys running with her dog, traveling, and all things food-related (cooking, baking, trying new restaurants, going to farmer’s markets, and watching every cooking competition under the sun!).
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 LargeCristina EscoberSchwans
Cristina is a Sr. Food Scientist at Schwan’s Company Pizza manufacturing facility in Florence, KY. 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 dessert pies, sandwiches and frozen pizzas for the past 15 years. In her personal time, she loves to spend it outdoors with her son, travel, try new recipes and finish home projects.
Director at LargeErica Boyd Givaudan 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 13 years in the meat processing industry, focusing specifically on innovation and new product development. In January of 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. Erica has been a member of IFT since 1995 and has served on the Ohio Valley Section IFT board for 6 years in various roles including Member At Large, Secretary, Chair Elect, Chair and Immediate Past Chair. She has also served on the Muscle Foods Division board for 3 as both Member At Large and Chair Elect. She spent many years enjoying her 2 boys play various sports. Tristan and Garrett are currently both in their senior years at University of Cincinnati and Ohio Universtiy, respectively, and looking forward to exciting things to come. In her free time, Erica enjoys traveling, scuba diving and visiting breweries.

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