Elizabeth Hernandez Zenil
- Course: Food Science and Nutrition MSc
- Nationality: Mexican
Why did you choose to study food science and nutrition at masters level?
My first degree was in clinical nutrition, and I had a couple of food science related modules that really spiked my interest in the area.
After finishing the BSc I decided to take on some cooking and baking courses, which led me to be even more interested in how the properties of food components effect the final product.
Afterwards, I started working in the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico, where I was involved in a couple of projects regarding food environment and child obesity, and that is where I realised what an important role food science can play in trying to create a better food environment to decrease and prevent diet related diseases.
That was the final push that led me to choose food science and nutrition at a masters level.
Why did you choose the University of Leeds?
While looking for programmes on food science I was aiming at Europe, as I wanted to experience a completely different environment educationally and culturally.
While looking up the different universities, I felt that the course offered by the University of Leeds was definitely one that covered all the aspects I wanted to learn about and the School of Food Science and Nutrition is considered one of the best in the UK.
What have you enjoyed most about your course?
I love the fact that it has been quite practical, in the sense that for some of the modules the theory was related to practice through lab work.
I am a person that learns more efficiently through practice, as I think it helps connect the theory to real life.
Also that some of the invited lecturers were people who work in the food industry, and they gave us a better view of real problems faced in the industry, which are not really taught in books.
Last but not least, the amount of people from different nationalities and cultural backgrounds I got to know on the course. I believe that helped enrich the experience by broadening the view into how different countries address issues related to food science and nutrition.
What is it that makes you passionate about the subject you study?
My first passion in life is helping others improve their heath and quality of life.
Nowadays the world population is suffering from chronic diseases that are related to unhealthy lifestyles and inadequate diets, may it be undernourishment or overweight and obesity.
Food science can be used to modify and improve the food in our environment, allowing us to grow to our best potential and improve our lives.
Being able to apply my knowledge of food science and nutrition to improving a populations’ health and quality of life is certainly something that I am quite passionate about.
What do you think of the academic facilities and support services?
The academic facilities are good around the entire campus. I think they enable students to take full advantage of the programmes with the different libraries and technological facilities.
Within the School there are several laboratories and different equipment that make the learning experience more enriching.
Throughout the year I didn’t have the need to use the support services but from friends' experiences I am aware that there are many to help students cope with different circumstances quite efficiently.
How would you describe student life for postgraduates at Leeds?
Well, Leeds is very nice to live in - it has every commodity needed to live well, and more.
There are a vast amount of green areas in Leeds and around to exercise, walk around, have a picnic or just enjoy the sunny days.
It´s also well located to travel around, and the Yorkshire area is quite beautiful. You can find everything, may it be music festivals, food festivals, great coffee shops, art and museums - it’s a city that can keep anyone well entertained.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love walking around the beautiful green areas Leeds and its surrounding areas have. The scenery around Yorkshire is beautiful and it’s quite inviting to just roam around and enjoy the fresh air.
I also like visiting small coffee shops around the city centre whether it’s for a chat with friends, a refreshing cup of coffee or enjoying a good book, especially during the rainy days.
What do you plan to do after your course?
I plan on going back to Mexico and get involved in Public Health.
I want to build a solid working connection between the food industry and health organisations back home that can enable team work to combat diet related diseases.
I want to help create an environment of accessible and accurate information for the consumer, to modify the food environment to provide for the needs of the population in order to improve the quality of life for all populations.