ARLINGTON, VA — The FMI Foundation in partnership with The Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI), a division of FMI – The Food Industry Association, awarded 15 outstanding food safety scholars with the 2021 Food Safety Auditing Scholarship. The $3,000 scholarship is accompanied by an educational travel grant to the SQF Unites Global Conference, an interactive event for the global food safety and quality communities.

“In a world confronting many workforce challenges, it was gratifying to have 56 applicants express active interest in a career in food safety auditing and seek one of our 15 scholarships," said Executive Director of the FMI Foundation, David Fikes. “Our 15 recipients can now further hone their specialized expertise and commitment to public health, and then play a much-needed role in enabling the food industry to provide safe, secure nourishment to communities around the globe. I’m proud of the FMI Foundation’s continued efforts to support these essential food safety heroes.”

The recipients of the 2021 FMI Foundation Food Safety Auditing Scholarship are:

Leslie Pearl Cancio, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Aime Leandre Shimwa Mvuyekure, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Ashlyn Schnell, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Christabel Hartant, Purdue University

Darci DeVous, Oklahoma State University

Federico Bueno, Louisiana State University

Grace Enright, Cornell University

Juan Moreira, Louisiana State University

Lydia Rockers, Oklahoma State University

Minji Hur, University of Georgia

Nikita Bhusal, Lincoln University of Missouri

Paloma Hernandez, Texas A&M University

Tayler Hays, Texas Tech University

Xin Mei Teng, Oklahoma State University

Zirui Ray Xiong, Cornell University

“The food industry is built on consumer trust, and food safety auditors support our commitment to the global food system,” said Chief Food Safety Assessment Officer and Senior Vice President of SQFI, Gigi Vita. “The recipients of this scholarship represent the next generation of auditors that will play a significant part in ensuring the future of the food supply chain remains safe and secure for consumers everywhere.”

For additional information about the FMI Foundation and the Scholarship program visit For information about Safe Quality Food Institute visit

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Access headshots of the scholarship winners here.