The 13th Annual Nutrition, Endocrinology, and Food Science (NEFS) Graduate Student Conference took place virtually on Tuesday, April 13. We welcomed 96 attendees, including 21 poster presenters, to the event. The annual NEFS Conference is the result of collaborations between the Rutgers University Nutritional Sciences, Endocrinology and Animal Biosciences, and Food Science graduate student organizations (GSOs). Graduate students in the three GSOs work together to plan and implement the conference, providing an opportunity to network across disciplines and to learn valuable project management and teamwork skills. After being forced to cancel the conference last year due to the development of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the NEFS Planning Committee took on the challenge of successfully planning and executing a virtual event – a first in the history of the NEFS Conference!
The event featured keynote presentations from Martha Susiarjo of the Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester; Michael Hamm of Department of Community Sustainability, Michigan State University; and Kyle Shadix of PepsiCo. Graduate student speakers Kevin Tveter, Chelsee Holloway, and Dushyant Kshatriya represented the three graduate programs by sharing some of their research through keynote talks.
Over the week leading up to the Conference, registrants were able to access the Virtual Poster Session on the NEFS website to view recorded poster presentations in lieu of the traditional in-person poster session. During the Conference lunch break, attendees had the opportunity to join Zoom breakout rooms with the Virtual Poster Session presenters to ask questions and network.
The event concluded by recognizing the winners of the poster competition, sponsored by the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health (IFNH). We extend our congratulations to Esther Mezhibovsky (1st place), Candace Longoria (2nd place), and Ke Sui (3rd place) as winners of the graduate student poster competition, and to Yahel Ben-Zvi and Nikhil Patel as winners of the undergraduate poster competition!
This event would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors: Research Diets, Campbell’s, PepsiCo R&D, and the New Jersey IFNH, as well as the Departments of Nutritional Sciences, Animal Sciences, and Food Science. Thank you to the many attendees, poster presenters, poster judges, and keynote speakers who made this year’s virtual event a success!