McCormick Corporate Logo
close search dialog
search dialog
close language dialog

Choose Language

News Articles

Life at McCormick August 18, 2022

Learn about the Community Education Director at FONA, Katie Sudler, and Her Impact on the Community

Katie Sudler


When Katie Sudler, Community Education Director at FONA, walked into the FONA building for the first time, she fell in love with the company. "The people, the smells, and the aromas drew my heart right in," Katie said. "I wanted to be a part of FONA immediately."

FONA is one of McCormick & Company's Flavor Solutions brands and creates and produces flavors for many of the largest food, beverage, and nutritional companies in the world. In her role, Katie oversees FONA's community education program that engages the community by interacting with local schools and community groups to be a forum for learning and understanding more about the science behind food and flavors. Katie started in the food and flavor industry 20 years ago after receiving a degree in Food and Nutrition from Purdue University. She also earned a Master’s in Child, Youth and Family Studies and is certificated to teach Health and Family & Consumer Sciences.

Katie has been both instrumental and unquestionably passionate in developing the Discover FONA program, working closely on the community education program since its start in 2012. “I love seeing things from the very beginning to the end,” Katie said. The goal of the program is to demonstrate to kids how food and science are all connected, to understand the concept of nutrition and what the human body needs, and to showcase that food and science careers are an option in their future.  The program also engages with teachers by providing food science experiments and demonstrations that they can later showcase in their own classrooms. Since it started in 2012, Discover FONA has engaged 16,942 people in conversations about food, flavors, and the industry.

“There are a lot of different topics that we try to ingrain into different kinds of curriculum, including the science of smell and taste and how that works from a physiological perspective or biological standpoint,” Katie said.

FONA has hosted or participated in 408 education events and compiled more than 2,500 hours of outreach since the beginning of the program.  Katie expresses the importance of reaching out to different groups in the community and in the industry. Some examples of the meaningful activities the program has participated in include the Museum of Science & Industry talk, TEDx Naperville, hosting the National Association of Family & Consumer Sciences-State Advisors, Manufacturing Awareness Day activities, and being featured on an episode of National Geographic’s TV show episode, ‘Weird but True.'

Additionally, FONA has provided 52 job shadow and/or internship opportunities for high school and college students, hosts an annual Teacher Institute Day, and regularly participates in STEM career fairs, career panels, and roundtable conversations.

One of the most impactful events that Discover FONA hosts during the year is Teacher Institute Day, an all-day event for teachers and students to try hands-on experiments while learning about the science behind taste, food, and flavor. Katie says they have had variety of educators attend, including Science, Math, Spanish, PE, and Special ED teachers. Katie wants to make sure the teachers and students understand the connection between their lives and food.

After more than 10 years at FONA, Katie continues to bring her endless passion for food and nutrition to the community. "There is always something new every day and endless opportunities to guide and connect with others," she says. 

Follow the Flavor Forward Blog and McCormick & Company on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram for company news and updates.