Nadia Hartanto

Nadia Hartanto

Why did you decide to study at the University of Leeds?

University of Leeds has a prestigious reputation as a Russell Group university and is consistently ranked as one of the top universities in the UK. Studying Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds was an easy choice to make as it gives me the best opportunities to pursue a world-class degree in my speciality. I also loved that Leeds is a compact campus with a thriving and active student union that students of all faculties can come together as one.

What has been the best aspect of studying on your course and at the University and why?

Studying Food Science and Nutrition has been greatly rewarding in many aspects. The lecturers are truly passionate about imparting their knowledge on their area of expertise and inspiring an inquisitive and curious mind.

My favourite part of my course is the quality and emphasis on hands-on learning. We spent a good amount of contact hours in the first-year learning and replicating industrial practices such as the science and technology behind canning tinned foods, concentrating fruit juices and culturing yoghurts in our Food Technology Lab. The second year pushed us further into understanding the biochemistry (micro and macro-nutrition) of food with a practical analytical lab project as well as giving us a taste of commercial awareness with a Food Product Development (FPD) project. The final year utilises all that we have learnt into practice with two heavyweight projects – a research based dissertation project and a FPD project. This year has given me full independence with time management and mimics a real life working environment which, I believe, prepares us for our future careers and endeavours.

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed so far?

I am currently working on one that I am most passionate about. It involves working as a team to develop a food product from brief to launch fulfilling the theme of an “eco-innovative fast food with restricted calories”. My group challenged ourselves with a stretching concept and novel creation that does not currently exist in the market. The experience has been extremely enriching and challenging! The obstacles we faced were all stepping stones and great learning opportunities to develop our skills for the future.

I also enjoy working on my individual research project which is investigating the use of acoustic ultrasound and optical turbidity methods to study powder dissolution profiles. Having free rein to manage my time and deadlines as well as discovering new findings that will potentially add value to the current research knowledge is extremely rewarding.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

The city was an important deciding factor when choosing a university for me. The proximity of the campus to the city is perfect for someone who wants a good balance of student and social life. Leeds is the epitome of a perfect compact campus and compact student city. Not only is it very student budget friendly compared to other cities, it boasts of incredible beauty with amazing architectures at every turn.

Being in the heart of the country, it is a strategic location to travel and explore the country. Picturesque national parks surround Leeds with the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors in the North and the Peak District in the South. All within a train ride as short as 30 minutes! Beautiful cities and towns such as York, Harrogate and Manchester are within an hour’s train ride. A weekend getaway to the Edinburgh in the north or London in the south are only 2.5 hours away. Leeds is really in the heart of the country!

What are your ambitions for the future?

Doing a year industrial placement allowed me to explore what career path I want to pursue. I derive immense joy and satisfaction seeing tangible accomplishments such as witnessing products that I have developed launch on the supermarket shelves. That is how I knew a career in the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) industry is perfect for me. I want to pursue a career in Product Development or Research & Development after graduating with potential plans to further my studies in the future.

What experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?

I had the amazing opportunity to do an industrial placement working in the food industry and it was one of the biggest takeaway graduating from Leeds. I moved across the country to the South of England to work for Oscar Mayer Ltd, a chilled ready-meals manufacturer, working as Jr Concept and Process technologist as well as a Lab Analyst Intern. I had to re-adapt to a different lifestyle and environment but I enjoyed the change and challenge. Leeds prepared me well for the roles not only with the required knowledge but more importantly with the essential skills through the numerous project works and rigorous theoretical and practical academic structure.  

What would you say to students coming to do the same course?

Grab every opportunity given to you in university! Work as hard as you can but play as hard as you can! University is the time that you’re allowed to make mistakes and learn from it. If you don’t let anything hold you back and nothing will!