Melissa Wright, who joined the Food Science and Technology Department (FST) staff in 2014 as Chemistry Lab Manager, has been promoted to Assistant Director of the Food Innovations Program. She is one of several faculty members recently promoted or hired as the department continues its trend of rapid growth that began over a decade ago.
After joining FST, it didn’t take long for Wright to seek out ways to expand her skillset.
“When I joined the department, I had no real knowledge of food science, so I decided to take Food Chemistry and Food Microbiology,” she said. “I enjoyed the coursework so much that I applied to graduate school and began coursework for my masters in Fall 2015.”
By the time Wright received her degree in May 2019, she had begun assisting Food Innovations Lab Director Joell Eifert in corresponding with food entrepreneurs, coordinating product analysis requests, overseeing laboratory staffing, performing laboratory testing, and more. It was quickly decided that Wright’s expanded responsibilities deserved a new title, and she was soon after promoted to Assistant Director of the Food Innovations Program. Wright still holds her previous position in addition to her new one, but her promotion reclassifies her as administrative and professional (A/P) faculty.
Wright received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Roanoke College in 2000, and her master’s in agricultural and life sciences from Virginia Tech in 2019.
—Written by Alex Hood