KSU hires coordinator for global food systems initiative

by Eric Schroeder
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Maureen Olewnik_ KSU coordinator of global food systems initiative
Maureen Olewnik

MANHATTAN, KANSAS, U.S. — Maureen Olewnik, a longtime leader at AIB International, has joined Kansas State University (KSU) as coordinator of the university’s global food systems initiative. She reports to John Floros, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of KSU Research and Extension.

In her new position, Olewnik will plan and implement activities related to the university’s global food systems initiative, including such public activities as workshops, seminars and conferences. She also will help create multidisciplinary opportunities to conduct research or pursue projects in the food industry.

“This position allows me to get back to my original career interest in research in the agriculture sector as it applies to the food industry worldwide,” Olewnik said. “Current activity at Kansas State University and the greater Manhattan area in food research is extensive and includes people in many disciplines whose expertise offers a valuable resource.

“The global food systems initiative has tremendous potential to benefit the food industry both locally and worldwide. I look forward to the opportunity to be part of this exciting venture.”

Olewnik joined AIB International in 1982, and most recently was a principal for innovation and industry affairs. She earlier was senior vice-president for food safety services and vice-president of food safety and technical services. During her time at AIB, she led teams that developed new products, served as a liaison to industry, negotiated relationships with universities and international trade organizations and led food safety service training.

“My basic research has been focused on wheat and wheat quality characteristics, working closely with universities, USDA Agricultural Research Service and industry partners,” she said, adding that she also studied the use of near infrared spectroscopy to predict wheat quality characteristics.

Her applied research includes ingredient interaction, product development and industry scale up.

“My most recent work has been in the area of international food safety and regulatory oversight,” she said.

In 2012, Olewnik was presented with the AACCI William F. Geddes Award recognizing her contributions to that organization. She will take over as president of AACCI (American Association of Cereal Chemists International) beginning this fall.

Olewnik received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Kansas State University, the latter in cereal chemistry in 2003. She is a member of the AACCI and the International Association of Food Protection, among other professional organizations. 

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