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Allena Myers: Keeping our food safe

Allena Myers graduated in May 2018 with her Master of Jurisprudence degree from the College of Law. Myers is also a 2004 MSU graduate with a B.S. in food science and has an International Food Law Certificate from the Institute for Food Laws and Regulations. Myers currently works as a senior regulatory specialist for Southeastern Mills in Rome, Ga.

The following is an excerpt that originally appeared on MSU's Institute for Food Laws and Regulations Blog.

I initially learned about the food law classes when I took the course Food Regulation in the United States, taught by current IFLR director Neal Fortin, as an elective. In 2004, the master’s degree in food safety was offered, so I planned to gain industry experience and virtually return to MSU for the program in the future.

In 2015, I finally decided to take the first step by registering for the International Food Law Certificate. It was a great introduction to the online coursework by teaching me the balancing act of school and full-time employment.

Once I started the program, I learned more about the master’s degree in global food law. This was not available when I graduated in 2004, so it really piqued my interest. The classes aligned with my ambitions in regulatory affairs, so I decided to move forward with the degree after completing the certificate.

I am able to apply the knowledge gained in the courses directly to my thought process and tasks at work. Previous to my position in regulatory affairs, I worked in quality assurance and food safety at the manufacturing level for about 10 years.

I knew of good manufacturing requirements and other FDA regulations, but not the reasoning behind them. This degree has helped me fill those gaps of understanding and polish my skills to become a valuable asset to the food industry.

Since the online program is global, it’s a vital experience for professionals in the food industry because it brings together many different cultures, opinions and approaches to problem solving a situation. I really enjoyed learning about food law in other countries and different approaches to satisfying requirements.

In addition, this coursework is valuable to someone starting a career in regulatory affairs. I came from a science and business background, so the law classes really opened up a new world for me. They not only helped me in my daily tasks – they helped build upon my knowledge to establish a well-rounded academic career.

I love food, science and, eventually noticed, I love regulatory affairs. I love learning, and when I started to look at food regulations, I found the history and practical application interesting.

The black and white area of the law is a given, but the gray area of interpretation is fascinating to me. There can be so many different routes for just one topic. My goal is to craft my knowledge so that I can become a subject matter expert and answer the detailed, difficult questions about food law.

MSU's program is a challenging experience, but with exceptional reward. Some people may think that an online program is simple, but that is far from the truth! It takes a lot of discipline to complete an online degree – maybe even more difficult than a physical classroom in some respects.

The professors in the program do an excellent job of delivering the material online. They are interactive, and when you need help understanding a certain topic, they are eager to ensure your understanding. They are very passionate about their work. The quality of education is outstanding – absolutely comparable to an on-campus program. And, not to mention, it’s with Michigan State!

This is my second degree from MSU, and I am a Spartan for life! Go green!