Following a thorough selection process, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has named Renee Boyer as the interim head of Virginia Tech’s Department of Food Science and Technology. She formally assumed her new role on August 10.

Boyer has been with the food science faculty as professor and extension specialist since earning her doctoral degree from the department in 2006, during which time she has led a variety of extension initiatives to bolster food safety awareness among food producers and consumers, published countless research publications on foodborne illness prevention, and mentored numerous food science students through their graduate educations.

“I have been a member of this department since becoming a student in 2000, and I truly believe that it’s my second home and second family,” Boyer said. “Joe Marcy has made tremendous strides in growing our department, and I hope that I continue to raise our national recognition, as well as continue to build the depth and scope of our expertise in food science and technology and our service to the food industry in Virginia and beyond."

Renee Boyer receives the Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension from Senior Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations Matthew Winston
Renee Boyer receives the 2018 Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension from Senior Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations Matthew Winston

Throughout her time at Virginia Tech, Boyer has been involved in funded, collaborative projects totaling over $38 million, with over $2 million going to her research and extension program to fund research on the prevention of food contamination by foodborne pathogens and the safety of food preparation techniques used by industry food handlers and consumers. Boyer has developed outreach programs aimed at enhancing the safety of local foods and at helping consumers learn to preserve their own foods at home. Her many recognitions include the Gamma Sigma Delta Extension Award of Merit, the Andy Swiger Land Grant Award and the Virginia Tech Alumni Award for Excellence in Extension. Additionally, she has held numerous leadership positions with the International Association for Food Protection.

Boyer has taken over the role of department head from Joseph Marcy, who stepped down from the position last month after 12 years at the FST's helm. For the foreseeable future, Marcy will continue to teach Food Packaging, a graduate course he’s instructed for many years. Marcy’s resignation comes at the end of a long and storied career, having over four decades of food industry experience and having overseen the largest period of growth in the department’s history.

“It’s been truly wonderful to see one of our students become head of the department,” Marcy said. “As both an alumni and a faculty member of over a decade, Renee knows FST, and she has never hesitated to step into leadership roles when needed. There’s no one better qualified to lead us during this transition.”

Boyer received both her doctoral and master’s degrees in food science and technology from Virginia Tech in 2006 and 2002, respectively. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Radford University in 1999.

—Written by Alex Hood