Q&A With Toyin Jackson

Jackson is a senior in food science and nutrition

Why did you decide to come to the University of Missouri and major in food science and nutrition? What do you enjoy about the program itself? The field of study?

The initial reason I was drawn to the University of Missouri was because I was selected to be in the inaugural class of MU Stamps Scholars through the Honors College. I visited campus during my latter years of high school, specifically the food science program and Dr. (Ingolf) Gruen. What stuck out to me during that visit was the program’s level of autonomy and the freedom to carve out your own path however you choose. During my years at MU, my interests went from wanting to be a food scientist and work in labs to developing a deep passion for the interplay between food and culture, which I plan to carry out through a food marketing and brand management career.

How have you used resources in the CAFNR Academic Programs Office (student services, career services, advising, study abroad)? What was your experience like?

I remember going to many meetings with my academic advisor(s) to arrange semester classes and configure schedules. They were great with working with me when I studied abroad in Barcelona my sophomore year. I found my program through the International Center, but CAFNR worked alongside them to get my Gastronomy and Food Culture program green-lighted and to get my transfer courses approved. It was a great experience overall.

CAFNR’s RISE Initiative encourages students to have a variety of extracurricular experiences during their time at Mizzou (Research, International, Service Learning, Experiential Learning). What parts of the RISE initiative have you taken advantage of so far, and which do you plan to? What have you enjoyed about these experiences?

I took advantage of the research and international experiences Mizzou offers. During my freshman and sophomore year, I did research with a graduate student (Alan “Patric” McClure) in the Food Chemistry Lab. He was a chocolatier and was doing a three-year research project that brought innovation to his business. I learned so much about food chemistry and about food businesses. My sophomore year was when I did my abroad program in Barcelona and that taught me a lot about my passions and what I want to do with my career.

What has been your favorite activity or experience of being a CAFNR student?

My favorite experience was probably my study abroad semester, which I’ve mentioned a few times in previous answers. I participated in a Gastronomy and Food Culture program at a top university in Barcelona called CETT. It was the most amazing 16 weeks ever. I was enrolled in two traditional Catalan cooking classes, a history of food culture course, and a wine and beverage sommelier class. It was a school filled with international students and teachers, so I met tons of people from around the world and learned from some of the best professors in the industry. I ate amazing European food for four months, traveled to eight different countries, and learned a lot about myself. It was the semester of a lifetime.