Fort Collins, CO
On the surface, working to combat
iron deficiencies and Vitamin A blindness
common to children in Indonesia, and
addressing nutritional concerns among
the elderly of Tippecanoe County in
Indiana, present little in common.
Yet for April Mason, this dichotomy
anchors a principle central to her
exemplary career as food science
educator and researcher: Deliver
resources wherever they’re needed.
Address issues important to recipients.
Growing up in Italy and attending the
Overseas School of Rome afforded early
glimpses of a global perspective. “I
developed a passion for travel and the
willingness to take calculated risks,” says
Mason. “I also developed an
appreciation of racial, cultural and
religious differences, and the many ways
people examine and study issues.”
Ability to lead, and the spirit to
embrace diversity, translated directly to
development of an extensive range of
food safety and nutrition programs, all
focused on transferring university-based
knowledge to the end user.
The Safe Food for the Hungry program,
an initiative launched by Mason in the early
1990s was the most gratifying. Working
with representatives from food banks and
homeless shelters, Mason and colleagues
developed food safety and nutrition
programming targeted to not-for-profit
food distribution programs nationwide.
Her efforts garnered the Secretary of
Agriculture’s Team Honor award in 1996,
and positioned Purdue University as a
leader in the food safety arena.
After nearly three decades as a
Boilermaker, her decision to head west
for new challenges at Colorado State
University was heart wrenching, admits
Mason. Yet living near the base of the
Rockies—and hundreds of miles from
Midwest humidity—does have its perks.
“There are wonderful trails throughout
Fort Collins. I never get tired of gazing at
the mountains. Every light, cloud and
sunset looks completely different.”
“Remember the individuals you learn with,
because each one leaves you with a gift.
I’ve spent my career in higher education in order
to pass those gifts along and, hopefully,
to change things for the better.”