Dr. Christina DeWitt Honored with Roy G. Arnold Award
Dr. Christina DeWitt, Director of the Seafood Research and Education Center in Astoria (COMES-Astoria), and Interim Director of the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station (COMES-Newport), was awarded the Roy G. Arnold/Agricultural Research Foundation Leadership Award in a virtual awards ceremony held on February 24, 2021. This annual award recognizes a Department Head, Branch Station Director, Center Director, or a faculty member with significant administrative responsibility who demonstrates outstanding contributions to the research mission of OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences.
Dr. DeWitt leads by example, balancing service to industry, professional service, teaching and advising graduate students, and recruiting and mentoring young faculty. She is dedicated to ensuring that seafood safety education is available both in the US and internationally, and she is a training expert in U.S. FDA-mandated hazard analysis of critical control points (HACCP). Dr. DeWitt develops training materials and regularly teaches workshops, helping to ensure that the regional and national seafood supply remains safe and fresh from processing through retail. In addition to her work in the U.S., Dr. DeWitt provides international Seafood HACCP Segment II, Seafood HACCP Train-the-Trainer, and seafood sensory trainings when possible. During her tenure at OSU, she has provided leadership for over 40 workshops and trainings involving over 1600 industry participants.
Dr. DeWitt has also ensured that industry has ample opportunities to convene with regulatory agencies to solve problems. Most recently, she organized the Seafood Processing Wastewater Conference for industry in 2018 as a direct response to Oregon DEQ’s new wastewater regulations. This conference was so successful that it was held again in 2019, and it was held virtually with participants from Alaska to California in 2020. In collaboration with Oregon DEQ, the US EPA, and industry, Dr. DeWitt worked to review and recommend new analytical testing procedures for seafood processing wastewater in order to comply with the new regulations. The outcomes of these discussions were a win-win for industry and the agencies alike.
Dr. DeWitt's academic and professional service have also earned recognition. She has served the Institute of Food Technologists-Aquatic Food Products Division in a number of leadership capacities, and she is the incoming 2021 President for Pacific Fisheries Technologists. She also serves as a technical advisor to the board of Positively Groundfish, a non-profit dedicated to elevating consumption of groundfish species, and has also served as co-Editor-in Chief of the Journal of Aquatic Food Product Technology for the past four years.
Finally, as a professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology, Dr. DeWitt has advised over 20 M.S. and Ph.D. students and has sat on over 50 graduate committees over the course of her career at OSU. Many of these students have gone on to high-level positions in seafood processing companies. She has also mentored a number of postdoctoral scholars and visiting scientists over the years.
As Dr. Robert McGorran, professor and former head of the Department of Food Science and Technology said in his nomination letter, “Coincidentally, Dr. DeWitt’s career parallels that of Dr. Roy Arnold, in that both received their Ph.D. degrees in Food Science from Oregon State University, pursued their early careers at other universities, then returned to OSU in key leadership positions in the College of Agricultural Sciences.” Everyone at the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station is so glad that Dr. DeWitt came back to OSU, and we are very proud of her accomplishments and her award!