Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Schilling, M. Wes

Committee Member

Buys, David R.

Committee Member

Downey, Laura Hall

Committee Member

Silva, Juan L.

Committee Member

White, Shecoya

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Food Science and Technology

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion


Students are exposed to food concepts in agriculture-based career technical education (CTE) courses which provide a gateway for students to become more aware of food science career pathways. Professional development for Mississippi (MS) CTE teachers is needed to effectively implement food science-based instruction since there is not a food science curriculum framework adopted in MS. The objective of this study was to assess a food science professional development training for MS CTE teachers that would increase their self-perceived knowledge of food science, self-perceived ability to conduct food science skills, and their self-efficacy to implement food science-based instruction. Thirty-one teachers participated in a 2-h professional development (PD) training that provided teachers an experiential learning opportunity to learn and apply food science concepts. Results indicated that the food science PD training was effective at increasing teachers’ self-perceived knowledge and ability to conduct food science skills. Post training, more than 77% of the participating teachers were more confident in their ability to teach food science concepts. Overall, teachers were satisfied with the food science PD training.

After participating in the food science PD training, teachers were asked to implement food science-based instruction in their CTE courses. A pilot test was conducted to examine MS CTE teachers’ (N=4) perception of implementing food science-based instruction that was provided to them. Post implementation, each teacher participated in a semi-structured interview to capture each teacher’s detailed experience pertaining to the implementation of the food science-based instruction. A conventional content analysis was used to analyze teacher responses. Research findings indicated that MS CTE teachers were interested in teaching food science to increase student knowledge of food science and to enhance student performance on the Future Farmers of America food science career development event. All teachers noted that they had a positive experience implementing the food science toolkit and that they intend to use the food science-based instruction in the future. MS CTE teachers perceived that the food science toolkit increased student exposure to, engagement in, and interest in food science academic and career pathways.


Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Special Research Initiative