The MISA Foundation has awarded scholarships to 95 college and graduate students.
Twenty-eight years ago, the Meat Industry Suppliers Association (MISA) set up a foundation to contribute to education in the meat and poultry industry. Ever since 1988, been awarding scholarships to university students seeking careers in the meat processing, poultry processing and suppliers industry.
Since that time, more than 95 college and graduate students who are furthering their education have received scholarships from the association. The number of scholarships and the amount awarded to each student has varied over the years. It began as three scholarships of $1,000 each. Then the amount increased to $5,000 for each scholarship, and for several years, an additional scholarship of $10,000 was awarded. For the last several years, the MISA Foundation has given out seven $10,000 scholarships each year. MISA raises funds for its scholarships through an auction held at the annual Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA) Conference. The foundation consistently raises approximately $125,000 each year to fund its scholarships.
The scholarships are paid directly to the students’ universities and applied to their tuition. And there is a lot of competition to receive the scholarships, according to Tom Hoffmann, MISA chairman, and director of sales for Mepaco, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. “The students apply for the scholarships in order to advance their education in the meat sciences, with the idea of having successful careers in the industry,” he says. “From year to year, the number of students who apply for scholarships varies, but it is a very competitive process. Each student is qualified in his or her own right – and I feel that when we select the students who eventually receive the scholarships, we are selecting from the best of the best.”
Students interested in receiving a scholarship must apply for it, and are judged on the following criteria: academic performance, commitment to a career in the meat industry or engineering field, as well as their potential for success in the industry. Applicants may be juniors or seniors in college, masters or Ph.D. candidates, studying at a university in the US or Canada.
“When the MISA Foundation began awarding the scholarship, the meat industry suppliers operated on their own. But today, MISA is one of five industry supplier councils, part of the Food Processors Suppliers Association, an umbrella group,” explains David Seckman, FPSA president and CEO, which helps administer the scholarship program. Besides the meat industry, the association’s other councils are: dairy, bakery, prepared food, and beverage industries.
Editor’s note: This is the first in an ongoing series spotlighting past recipients of MISA’s scholarship.