ARLINGTON, VA– The FMI Foundation in partnership with The Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI), a division of FMI – The Food Industry Association, today awards 15 outstanding food safety scholars with the 2023 Food Safety Auditing Scholarship. Recipients receive a $3,000 scholarship and an educational travel grant to SQF Unites, an event for the global food safety and quality community. 

"Food safety auditors are the backbone of our industry, working tirelessly to ensure the foods sold at the grocery store safely enrich and nourish lives,” said Executive Director of the FMI Foundation, David Fikes. “Our scholarship recipients, who represent the cream of the crop in this specialized area, get to network with seasoned veterans, with both groups reaping benefits from their exchanges. It is thrilling to watch the scholars learn and to see the innovative ideas they bring to the industry.”

Recipients of the 2023 FMI Foundation Food Safety Auditing Scholarship: 
  • Rabia Farheen Shamim Basha, University of Massachusetts-Amherst 

  • Vanessa Whitmore, University of Nebraska-Lincoln 

  • Paxton Hutchings, Oklahoma State University 

  • Grace Akumu, Texas Tech University 

  • Blanca Ruiz-Llacsahuanga, University of Georgia 

  • Rebecca Galvez, Texas A&M University 

  • Hanna Silensky, Oklahoma State University 

  • Amandeep Singh, Purdue University 

  • Minh Thach, Niagara College 

  • Brayan Montoya-Torres, Texas Tech University  

  • Ebenezer Aning-Dei, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University 

  • Shivaprasad Doddabematti-Prakash, Kansas State University 

  • Emma Holliday, University of Florida 

  • Esther Akoto, Iowa State University 

  • Mari Schroeder, University of Florida 

 “The FMI Foundation and SQFI's unwavering commitment to invest in the future of food safety and celebrate excellence is evident in this program,” said Chief Food Safety Assessment Officer and Senior Vice President of SQFI, Gigi Vita. “We are honored to celebrate this class of scholarship recipients and help ignite their professional journeys.” 

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

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Access headshots of the scholarship winners here