As a problem-solver with an affinity for STEM, it was solely pure for Carmen Cano Roca to pursue meals engineering as an undergraduate.
Now, she’s finishing a doctoral program as a graduate analysis assistant within the Department of Food Science and Technology on the College of Nebraska–Lincoln and appears to remain near the neighborhood she’s constructed for herself within the Midwest.
Cano Roca’s curiosity in meals science began at an early age when she had the will to unravel a necessity for meals security in her dwelling nation, Guatemala. She pursued that path and thru alternatives, landed on the College of Nebraska–Lincoln the place she’s fallen in love with analysis and the neighborhood she’s constructed for herself. Cano Roca accomplished her grasp’s diploma at Nebraska with a thesis on industrial probiotics and can defend her doctoral dissertation on the management of Salmonella on poultry merchandise on the finish of April.
“In Guatemala, now we have challenges with inequality, poverty and meals safety,” she mentioned. “There are excessive charges of malnutrition in my nation, so once I was in highschool, I made a decision that I wish to assist remedy these issues. I checked out my expertise and on the issues and discovered that I might do meals engineering.”
By her undergraduate program in meals engineering, she had the chance to finish a six-month analysis challenge in Nebraska, which led her to hitch the grasp’s program. After three years working in business, she returned to pursue her Ph.D., a testomony to her optimistic expertise in Nebraska.
Cano Roca has all the time been interested in the best way that meals manufacturing techniques work. She enjoys the intricacies of how folks get meals to their tables on daily basis. She’s labored on varied facets of meals manufacturing and now focuses on meals microbiology and meals security. Her overarching purpose is to contribute to meals security but additionally work in the direction of meals safety.
“Meals security is essential so that individuals don’t get sick and in order that they’ll actually take pleasure in their meals whereas gaining the dietary advantages,” she mentioned. “It’s actually fascinating to me as a result of it brings in numerous facets of the meals chain, and I actually like the way it’s very multidisciplinary and has a large area of utility.”
As a part of Byron Chaves’s Microbial Meals Security Lab, Cano Roca research methods to manage Salmonella micro organism in uncooked poultry throughout the slaughter course of.
Salmonella is of course current in chickens, so processors have to make use of particular processes to decrease the variety of micro organism and comprise the unfold to different chickens.
“We labored with an organization right here in Nebraska that’s proposing a brand new antimicrobial different to assist decrease the microbial load in uncooked poultry,” Cano Roca mentioned. “My experiments had been to mannequin in my lab what would occur in a poultry facility to see if that intervention would assist.”
Because the daughter of two engineers, Cano Roca feels at dwelling as a researcher and has loved incomes her doctorate. Publish-graduation, she’s trying to safe a job in business or as a researcher within the Midwest.
“I’ve actually constructed a neighborhood for myself right here,” she mentioned. “The price of dwelling is affordable and meals manufacturing within the Midwest is a giant deal. We’ve got numerous agriculture, poultry and beef right here so it’s space for my form of job.”
Cano Roca sees her return to Nebraska as endorsement of the optimistic expertise she had as a grasp’s scholar.
“I had a very good expertise as a grasp’s scholar and now as a Ph.D. scholar, I’ve had nice bosses and mentors,” she mentioned. “The Division of Meals Science and Expertise can also be very numerous, now we have folks from all around the world and from very totally different backgrounds, not solely geographically but additionally undergraduate backgrounds.”
Cano Roca made a house for herself not solely in her division but additionally within the metropolis of Lincoln.
“As a global scholar, you’re ranging from scratch whenever you transfer to a brand new place,” she mentioned. “So for me, it’s essential to know tips on how to relate to and help different folks in a brand new place. There are lots of elements of analysis that may be very isolating, so for me, it’s essential to not lose contact with different folks, particularly those that share a few of my experiences like pals in meals science, pals from Guatemala and different ladies in science.”
Neighborhood is essential to Cano Roca, and she or he’s immersed herself in alternatives inside the college and metropolis. Cano Roca participated within the Graduate Pupil Meeting, and is presently concerned with the Nebraska Meals for Well being Heart, the scholar board for the Worldwide Affiliation for Meals Safety and the Guatemalan chapter of the Group for Girls In Science for the Creating World.
Transferring ahead, Cano Roca is wanting ahead to persevering with working with meals security and safety and cultivating her neighborhood.