How does your degree transfer to the food and fresh produce industry? The MDS Pathways series will interview Trainees from a range of academic disciplines to prove that ambitious #futurefoodheroes can come from all subjects.
“Science reflects the people who make it.”
February 11th marks the sixth year of International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
Science and technology are crucial in getting produce from field to fork and makes vital contributions to the sector. Despite STEM-related areas being so important, data published by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) highlights that only around 30% of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education. Trainees on the MDS scheme can work in a range of STEM roles, and we are proud to say that gender representation is equal (Trainees who identify as Female represent 47% of the total current cohort).
To celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we interviewed MDS Trainees from the next-generation of #FemaleFoodHeroes on what they feel are some of the most significant scientific advancements coming out of the industry. Our first interview was with group 45 Trainee Celia Robles Angel,
Why did you choose a science degree?
I learn by doing, and from day one on my degree, I had the opportunity to work in the lab. I decided to do my MSc because I am fascinated by genes and biotechnology. I then developed a real passion for fresh produce when I was living and studying in Scotland, and I firmly believe that we can address some of the biggest issues facing food and fresh produce through biotech.
How has your science background helped you on MDS?
I believe that any degree changes the way you tackle a problem. When I work on a project, I think analytically about the real facts of the problem, much like I would have done when writing a lab report or working on an experiment in the lab. I have been lucky enough to work with not one but two agronomic/ Crop Protection (CP) companies. It is not essential to understand the scientific language, but it certainly helps!
What do you think are the industry’s most significant issues, and how can science and technology help with this?
I am fascinated by indoor vertical farming, precision agriculture and the use of cover crops.
I think it is incredible that technology can enable farms to grow in the middle of a city by making use of vertical space. It is on my bucket list to visit one! Precision agriculture is based on using data to make informed responses to changes in the environment and crop management to make the best use possible of CP products. Cover crops are used to regenerate soil qualities, slow erosion, improve soil health, or increase water availability. They also increase biodiversity! It’s all about gathering data and tailoring farm practices to the land so that our land will be richer for longer in the future.