I’m Karla Martin and my role is a Products,
Guidance and Insights manager, and that basically looks after all the sensory
program here for Uncle Toby’s. The degree I’m studying at Charles Sturt
University is a Bachelor of Health Science (Food and Nutrition)
and I graduate at the end of this year. CPW (Cereal Partners Worldwide) is a worldwide
organisation, we sell cereal everywhere in the world apart from America and Canada.
So we’ve got a major centre in Switzerland in a place called Orbe, we also have a large
centre inside General Mills, in Minneapolis. So we have lots of meetings and movement to
and from both Switzerland and America. I’ve been working for Uncle Toby’s for about
the past twenty years, and I started on the factory floor making muesli bars and then
I was able to get a position for consumer services and then I was lucky enough to get
a position here at R & D which was fantastic and that was in the sensory area.
And I worked in and out of that role for a little bit, had children, came back and then
I was lucky enough to get another role in the sensory program and that led on to me
wanting to do the degree and that just gives me more opportunities in this area as well. CSU is our closest food school university,
which is great because it’s in the country, so we have
relationship in terms of employing some of the students over the Christmas breaks.
We are helping to sponsor a PhD project at the moment,
and we have a got a great relationship with the academics there, we can phone up and ask
them questions. I really needed that flexibility and I found
that the lecturers at Charles Sturt just fabulous. They seem to really understand, those that
aren’t full-time students, that also have another life outside university and need to
juggle a lot of things. The program really tailors to that. Some the tests that I do here is descriptive
profile, so looking at the differences between products. We do a tetrad test , so are the products the same We do blind tastings as well with our descriptive
panel. It’s to take away the appearance. And then we do some shelf life testing; how old
are the products, how long are they going to last. We have products down in our different conditions,
temperate, Mediterranean, tropical, arid and we bring them up each month, test them against
our control, how are the doing, are they going rancid, are the going soft in texture. The Uncle Toby’s panelist, we really couldn’t
do the job without those guys here. We’ve had CSU students come and work in our
pilot plant, which is brilliant for our relationship with them and for the students to really see
what’s going on in the world. Part of the degree involved attending some residential
schools at Wagga and I did attend some practicals at the National Life Sciences hub.
There was some food technology, some nutrition, there was also microbiology, some physiology
so it all related back to what I was doing here, but it also let me, if I wanted to move
into a laboratory position, or if I wanted to go on and do dietetics I could, I could
move into product development, so its a really broad range to where I could move to if I
wish to. My message to anyone considering studying
a degree in food and nutrition, particularly with Charles Sturt University, is go for it. I would recommend it to anyone in a heartbeat.