Those who can do, those who can’t teach,” goes the old saying. At Miami University in Oxford, “OH, Associate Director for Dining & Culinary Support Services Mike Mitroi begs to differ, taking time out of his “doing” to guest lecture dietetics students about food management careers and how food systems work. It’s something Mitroi has been doing now for 15 years, “at least one a semester,” he says.
More recently, almost a dozen Miami Dining associates have participated in such academic activities, making presen tations in dietetics, journalism, market- ing, supply chain management and man- agement information systems classes.
It’s all part of an “engagement” initiative spurred by University President David Hodge to get members of the campus community to share real-life experiences with students to complement their class- room education.
“It was not long ago that many of us were embarking on the start of our food industry careers,” Mitroi explains. “Some went into operations, some sales and many to other related areas. At the time, the unknown paths to our livelihoods seemed very intimidating, but we somehow found the confidence to get started, knowing we had chosen a good industry. After all, the world will always need to eat.”
Mitroi says the broad outlines of his general theme came together while preparing a guest lecture on career alternatives to a class of dietetics students.
“The two goals of my careers presentation were to enlighten students about career possibilities and to highlight growth areas of the industry,” he says.
“Many students are extremely focused on pursuing careers in clinical dietetics. For many that is admirable and will lead to wonderful careers. For those who are not so focused, I wanted to present some other options. My second goal was to underscore the ‘hot’ areas of the industry and the careers in these areas.”
Mitroi’s presentation is titled Intro- duction to the Profession of Nutrition and Dietetics Careers in the Food Indus- try. It focuses on 15 areas:
• food science and technology
• manufacturers representatives
• supporting organizations
• food-related media
• government/regulatory agencies
• GPOs/food brokers/distributors,
• career profiles
• financial/statistical careers
• logistics management
“My goal is to open students up to possibilities in all areas of the food in- dustry, from the commonly known to the remote niches they may never have been exposed to, such as sales, advertis- ing, product development and the me- dia,” Mitroi says. “After all, food is a hot topic right now.”