IBIE’s new Student Immersion Program helps up-and-comers kickstart their careers.

It’s no secret that workforce development is a major challenge in today’s baking industry. At IBIEducate we learned that 78 percent of baking companies are reporting a shortage of employees and at IBIE 2019 we awarded BEST in Baking industry awards to companies that are working to tackle this important issue. In addition, we’re working to create a strong workforce in the future through our new Student Immersion Program, which gives emerging industry professionals a taste of the industry and tools to kickstart their careers.

Sixteen rising stars were selected to participate in the program’s inaugural year. These students were matched with industry mentors, participated in meetings with top-tier exhibitors and were given all-access passes to both IBIEducate and the Baking Expo’s™ show floor. And even managed to have a little fun together at an ice cream social, a few networking events and touring a state-of-the-art baking facility in Las Vegas. Here are some excerpts from their reflections on the program:


“The highlight of my experience was most definitely being paired with Ramon Rivera with Grupo Bimbo as my mentor. Upon hearing that my career interests were in research and development, he connected me with several individuals who were key players in the Grupo Bimbo R&D group. They were excited to know that I had been considering applying for an opening in R&D that is currently posted and asked me about previous internship experiences. The mentor program was a very positive experience for me and has made me excited to apply for a position with Grupo Bimbo.”

Anastasia Frazee
Iowa State University
Culinary food science & entrepreneurship

“IBIE was an impactful and confirming experience for who I want to be in the food industry. I was introduced to the baking industry during previous internships and knew that my passion for grain functionality, bread baking, and cookie making was something I wanted to incorporate into my future career. 

Perhaps the most important thing I learned from IBIE was that the baking industry is a huge, kind, and innovative industry. I was unsure of what I wanted to do after graduation, but I am now very sure of my career intentions. IBIE was able to help me solidify my career aspirations and introduced me to leaders in the industry, providing me with connections that I soon cannot forget.“

Morganne Schmidt
University of Nebraska – Lincoln
Master’s in food science

“My participation in the IBIE immersion program was exceptional due to the connections made, and the knowledge gained – the experience of a lifetime. During my time at IBIE I was able to connect with K-State alumni Sherrill Cropper as my mentor. Sherrill did a wonderful job of connecting me with fellow K-State alumni and other connections throughout the industry. 

Along with access to an expansive network of professionals, this program provided me with the opportunity to expand my knowledge base of the baking industry. With the generous all-access pass for IBIEducate sessions provided by the program I was able to attend a number of classes. In these classes I learned about new trends that will soon influence the market and how to substitute for sugar in a sugar-fearing market, among other things.”

Maggie Miksch
Kansas State University
Bakery science and cereal food science

IBIE Student Immersion Program Particpant“Being selected to be part of the first ever Student Immersion Program for the International Baking Industry Exposition will forever be a very special memory from my time in college.

In addition to there being booths as far (and even farther) than the eye can see, there were demonstrations from master bakers and even a master cake decorating competition with different components every day. There were several celebrity sightings including Duff Goldman from Ace of Cakes, Buddy from Cake Boss and Emily Ellyn from the Food Network. The Pillsbury Doughboy even made a special appearance! The best part of walking around the show floor was the willingness of the [exhibitors] to talk to the students and share information and ask questions. There were constantly fun and interesting things to learn, sometimes it felt like we needed to have clones to be able to do and see everything we wanted!”

Kacee Campbell
Kansas State University
Bakery science & management and food science with a minor in business

“I learned a lot about this industry by attending IBIE. I knew that there are many different fields that I could get into in this industry, but it never really hit me until I was walking around the expo looking at all the different booths at the show. 

All the different food safety and HACCP sessions were helpful and gave useful information. The shows that were on the main floor were a great learning experience. I enjoyed being able to watch the different professionals show us their skills. The tips and advice that the professionals gave were also useful to improving my skills. 

I was able to meet people that owned their own small bakery to the CEOs and higher ups of large companies. The networking opportunities for a student at this show are great. I was able to talk to several potential employers about different opportunities within their companies.” 

Megan Hayunga
Kansas State University
Bakery science and management, cereal chemistry option
Minors in agribusiness and chemistry

By providing students the opportunity to further their knowledge, grow their network, and broaden their view of the baking industry, we aim to give the next generation of baking professionals a head start in their career development and in turn contribute toward the health of the industry as a whole. Keep this unique and impactful opportunity in mind for students you may know and reach out to poshea@americanbakers.org if you’d like to participate as a student or mentor for IBIE 2022!

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