Explain what you do in your work in one sentence (or two!).
My job involves providing scientific evidence on the nutritional value and food quality of RTB crops and diversifying the ways in which RTB crops/foods are consumed, stored and utilized.
When did you first become interested in your field?
When I was 15 years, I was awarded the best Biochemistry Student certificate. From there I knew my future career was going to be in the lab working with chemicals and instruments.
What is a typical day like for you as a food scientist?
I start my day by responding to emails from different CIP teams, private sector partners, development partners and collaborators. Mid-day, I review all the analysis reports from the laboratory. I end the day by writing reports, concept notes, proposals and reviewing manuscripts from students in the lab and external journals. Occasionally I attend conference calls and project management meetings.
Please tell us about the IFT Emerging Leaders Network Award and what it means to you?
The Institute of Food Technologies (IFT) Emerging Leaders Network is a highly selective global leadership program established for new professionals in the science of food who are eager to expand their leadership skills. The program is designed to bridge the gap between the participant’s academic experience and their on–the–job training. The Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) Award is given to select candidates who demonstrate high potential for success in leadership roles and a strong commitment to the profession.For me the ELN Award is a validation of the choice of career I made when I joined CIP as a Food Scientist. I am a trained Nutritional Biochemistry professional and the transition to food science and food technology field was not easy but it was exciting. The Award is encouraging for me and is great motivation to wake up every day and go to work.
Do you have any advice for young people interested in science today?
Yes, the future is about innovation, and science provides a perfect platform for innovation. Great science-based innovations provide immense personal satisfaction, career growth, fame and also income opportunities. Go for it!
Dr. Tawanda Muzhingi is a regional food scientist based at the International Potato Center (CIP) regional office in Nairobi, Kenya. Muzhingi graduated from the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, with an MS in nutrition (2008) and PhD in nutritional biochemistry (2014). He leads the Food and Nutritional Evaluation Research Laboratory (FANEL) at the Biosciences for East and Central Africa Lab (BecA) International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Nairobi, Kenya. Muzhingi supports CIP and CGIAR Roots, Tubers and Banana (RTB), and CRP’s global efforts on nutrition-sensitive agriculture, value chain development, private sector engagement, and post-harvest research. He is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists, the American Society for Nutrition, the International Carotenoid Society, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ INFOODS and AFROFOODS Networks.