Alejandro Saldivar didn’t choose the confectionery life. It chose him.
Saldivar, who has been named the winner of the American Association of Candy Technologists’ 2017-2018 John Kitt Memorial Scholarship, said “life hit him in the face” when he came upon the Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate factory in California.
Saldivar, now a senior at University of California-Davis, took a break from his studies in environmental engineering and went to work for Dick Taylor, where he learned about the food industry. Saldivar then decided to change course in his education.
At UC-Davis, Saldivar maintains academic excellence while participating in the Food Science Brewing Club. He also serves as a committee member of the Davis Chocolate Festival and a team leader for the Ocean Spray Product Development Competition.
“My aspirations are to study, work with and build up companies that work with chocolate and confectionery,” Saldivar said. “I love what I’ve done and what I study. I can’t wait to do more.”
Thirty-nine students from 30 schools applied for this year’s scholarship, which is awarded in two $2,500 installments.
Recipients of the Kitt Memorial Scholarship must show an interest in confectionery technology through research projects, work experience, or formal study. They also must have at least a 3.0 grade point average, major in food science, chemical science or biological science, and attend an accredited four-year college or university in North America. Recipients must have sophomore, junior, or senior status.
The American Association of Candy Technologists is a professional group of technologists, operations personnel, educators, students, business staff, and others dedicated to the advancement of the confectionery industry.