Chayapa (Koi) Techathuvanan, Ph.D.
What year did you receive your degree/s from The University of Tennessee’s Food Science Department? What made you choose UT’s Food Science program?
I received an M.S. in 2009 and a Ph.D. in 2012.
I visited UT during my undergraduate sophomore year as an exchange student in 2004 and had the opportunity to explore UT’s Food Science graduate program. I chose to come to UT as the professors in the department are among the best in the field and the research focuses matched my interest. In addition, the people in the department, the university and Knoxville are great, very friendly and kind
What is your current position and employer and how long have you been there?
I’m currently a Sr. Scientist – Microbiology at Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. and I’ve been with the company for 4 years.
How did your experiences at UT help to shape your career path?
Not only subjects from classes and skills from research works which definitely built my science foundation for my career, I also learned so much outside of the classrooms through working with diverse groups of people at UT. By sharing their experiences, their views, their passions and their work ethics, professors showed me how to become a good scientist. They also allowed me to explore and experience different aspects of food science and let me find my own passion. Relationship with my professors, fellow students, alumni, UT Food Science staffs, and collaborators keeps re-emphasizing the importance of networking, collaborating and working as a team. Many of them have now become my colleagues as well as life-long friends.
What are your future goals?
With the current increase rate of bacterial resistance to antibiotics, approximately 10 million people will die annually by 2050 without a worldwide response. By continuing my current research, I aim to find a solution to address this issue with uses of natural antimicrobial compounds.
What advice would you give to current and future students?
Always have fun, not afraid to make mistakes (and learn from them, of course!), look for opportunities, and be ready for new challenges!