summer scholar students standing in front of colorful scientific backdrop

Food Science Summer Scholars Program

Recruiting Top Students Across the Country

NC State University’s Summer Scholars program recruits top students from across the country to develop their skills in food science research, education, and outreach. The scholar experience balances collaborative project work with a faculty mentor, lab group, and a variety of career development opportunities, like workshops, field trips, and guest speakers.

Acceptance into the program includes a stipend, on-campus housing, and an expenses paid trip to the annual Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) meeting.

Learning Benefit for Scholars

Food Science Research Track

Scholars complete lab-based projects that contribute to the advancement of food science in a variety of concentrations. This track is aimed at preparing students for graduate school or careers in research.

Students will: 2022 Summer Scholars group in plant listening to a professional

  1. Hone laboratory skills
  2. Develop team-building competencies with other students and full-time researchers
  3. Gain presentation experience at an undergraduate research symposium

Field trips to local processors and other research facilities enhance the student experience and introduce them to the food industry.

Food Science Education and Extension Track

This track aims to fill an urgent need for food safety professionals who can effectively teach, train, and influence behaviors across the food supply chain.

Students develop their abilities to:

  1. Design, deliver, and evaluate instructional materials, which may include virtual reality, animations, and other online activities
  2. Implement the learning activities into existing education and extension curricula
  3. Increase their critical thinking skills and interests in food science education and extension careers

Students participate in learning activities that include education and extension development opportunities, field trips to leading North Carolina food industries, and introductions to experts in the fields of food education and extension.

summer scholars student presents poster

Exclusive Research Track

This track is designed for students interested exclusively in food science research. It is intended to be more project-focused. Students will complete lab-based research projects with associated faculty at either the Plants for Human Health Institute (PHHI) located in Kannapolis, NC or the Center for Marine Sciences and Technology (CMAST) located in Morehead City, NC.

Students will develop skills in:

  1. Lab and project-based research
  2. Team-building with other students and full-time researchers
  3. Presentations at an undergraduate research symposium

Students will participate in weekly virtual learning activities with the other tracks but will not be required to attend field trips. 

Compensation and Housing

Food Science Research, Education & Extension Tracks

  • $3,000 stipend.
  • On-campus housing is provided for 10 weeks. Students may opt for off-campus housing of their own choosing and will receive a housing stipend of $1,800.
  • Expenses paid trip to the Institute of Food Technologists annual meeting. If the meeting is held virtually or the scholar chooses to attend the hybrid meeting virtually, they will not be required to travel.

Exclusive Research Track

  • $3,000 stipend.
  • Housing is provided near Kannapolis or Morehead City research locations for 10 weeks. Students may opt for arranging their own housing and will receive a summer housing stipend of $1,800.
  • Expenses paid trip to the Institute of Food Technologists annual meeting. If the meeting is held virtually or the scholar chooses to attend the hybrid meeting virtually, they will not be required to travel.

Application Process

Undergraduates of various science-based disciplines are encouraged to apply. The program is open to all undergraduates currently enrolled at a four-year accredited U.S. university. All applicants must be eligible and authorized to work in the U.S. Complete the required I-9 form.

Applications open: November 1, 2023

Applications close: February 14, 2024

Anticipated start and end dates: May 15, 2024 to August 1, 2024

To apply:

  • There are separate applications for each of the three tracks. Please indicate in your application for which track you wish to be considered. You may select all if appropriate.
  • In the application, you are asked to write a brief explanation of your preferred track and your qualifications as a candidate. You may express your desire to be considered for any or all three tracks.
  • You will need to upload your resume or curriculum vitae on the application form.
  • You must submit two or three letters of recommendation to
Apply Now!

Contact Us

Please email any questions to Leah Dexter-Boone at