2020 Mather Award Winner Announced

2020 Mather Award Winner Announced

By: Esther Haviland

Sheena Fate headshotThe 2020 Edward & Mary Mather Outstanding Food Safety Student Award (Mather Award) has been awarded to Sheena Fate, a December 2020 graduate of the Online Master of Science in Food Safety degree program.

Sheena's applied project was titled Assessment of Sanitation Practices for the Control of Listeria monocytogenes at Small and Very Small Ready-To-Eat Meat and Poultry Processors. Her study's objective was to assess the extent of recommended sanitary control methods used by eight small and very small ready-to-eat (RTE) processors in Michigan. The results indicate that the prevalence of Listeria can be reduced in small and very small RTE meat and poultry processing facilities while staying within their financial and structural limitations.

In addition to being granted the Mather Award, the Journal of Food Protection accepted Sheen's applied project for publication in April 2021. 

"I am truly honored to receive the 2020 Edward and Mary Mather Outstanding Food Safety Student Award," said Sheena. "The Online Food Safety Master's program has provided more opportunities and growth than I can describe. I am so thankful that I was given the opportunity to be part of the master's program and that I was able to use my applied project to research an area of interest for the small and very small processors of Michigan."  

Sheena earned her Bachelor's degree in Animal Science from Michigan State University (MSU). She has 20 years of experience in the food industry working in food safety, regulatory compliance, and animal welfare. Sheena spent the bulk of her career working for the world's largest protein processor, JBS, where she managed all of the facility's regulatory affairs, food safety programs, export programs, auditing, and various pre-requisite programs. She spent many years helping local, small processing plants with their regulatory, food safety, animal welfare, and overall business management needs. 

Sheena joined the MSU Extension team in 2021 as a Food Processing Specialist to continue her passion for helping small and very small processors all across Michigan.

The Mather Award is made possible through the support of the founding director of the Online Master of Science in Food Safety degree program, Dr. Edward Mather, and his wife, Mrs. Mary Mather. 

The Mather Award recognizes students who have excelled in designing and implementing an applied food safety project, a required component of the Master of Science in Food Safety degree. The food safety applied projects for each calendar year's graduates are reviewed by a panel of faculty judges for originality, quality, and application to a solution for a food safety problem.