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NMSU Dean Flores named Institute of Food Technologist Fellow

Release Date: 10 Jul 2020
NMSU Dean Flores named Institute of Food Technologist Fellow

Rolando A. Flores, dean and chief administrative officer of New Mexico State University’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, has been recognized for his contribution to the advancement of the field of food science and technology regionally, nationally and globally.

Flores is among the 12 inductees into the Institute of Food Technologists 2020 Class of Fellows.

“It is an honor to be nominated and recognized with this prestigious award,” Flores said.

The IFT Fellow designation honors professionals and scientists with extraordinary achievements within the science of food and technology community. Flores has conducted pioneering research in waste and byproduct utilization.

“The science of food is one that we, hopefully, all deal with three times a day,” Flores said. “The disruption that COVID-19 has caused to our food chain brings awareness of all the work that we have to do to provide safe and secure food.

“In this country, we are blessed with high productivity from our farmers and ranchers,” he said. “The science of food makes possible the transformation of agricultural products into food. This is a very important endeavor, which I have the privilege to help expand in New Mexico.”

Since 1970, the IFT Fellow distinction has recognized individuals with exemplary accomplishments such as successfully introducing new food products, spearheading scholarly advancements, and improving the human condition through the science of food.

Flores is being honored for his his research accomplishments; advancement of food science and technology regionally, nationally and globally; cultivating of the next generation of food scientists and engineers; and excellent service to IFT and other professional organizations.

Since joining NMSU in 2016, Flores has worked to establish the Center of Excellence in Sustainable Food and Agricultural Systems, which awarded its first seed grant this summer. He is also supporting a new food science and technology program that includes a master’s degree program in food bioprocessing in the College of Engineering.

All these efforts are needed to support a new $25 million facility that has been approved by the New Mexico voters to house the food science, security and safety program. The new facility will include meat and food processing pilot plants and laboratories.

Flores’ leadership at NMSU is having a global impact by creating opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students globally – specifically in Latin America, India and China.

NMSU has been represented at the last two Women Economic Forums in India and the one this year in Cairo, Egypt, with eight students attending each year and giving presentations.

Through his leadership and the participation of the Extension faculty, a novel exchange program for Extension faculty in New Mexico, Costa Rica and Mexico is being developed to enrich the global experiences of Extension educators in these countries.

Other programs are in development with universities in Mexico, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay, as well as with the Interamerican Institute of Cooperation in Agriculture.

These projects continue the collaborative research and student exchange programs that he established at UNL with India, China, Japan and Latin America.

Prior to his arrival at NMSU, Flores was professor and head of the Department of Food Science and Technology at University of Nebraska-Lincoln and director of the Nebraska Food Processing Center.

During his 10 years of leadership in Nebraska, a pilot food processing facilities was established. The center serves as a major food processing and applied research hub that integrates applied research with state-of-the-art pilot plants, laboratory services, a team of product developers, and a team that supports food entrepreneurship.

Prior to his roles at UNL, Flores was at Kansas State University and the USDA-ARS Eastern Research Center. His research was focused on value-added agricultural products and by-products, simulation and optimization of processing systems, food safety, and water reconditioning and reuse in food processing. He received many awards for his research.

In recognition of his accomplishments and expertise in food science and technology, Flores was honored as the third recipient of the Stanley Watson Award from the Cereals and Grains Association, formerly the American Association of Cereal Chemists in 2008, and named a Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institution Fellow in 2014.

He also received the Outstanding Alumni Award from department of Grain Science and Industry at Kansas State University in 2017 and was named an Alumni Fellow for the Graduate School at Kansas State University in 2018.

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