Kar Yeen Chong

PhD Candidate, Dalhousie University

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Pursue your interests and believe in yourself. There will be challenges but you will grow with them.

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I am a researcher in food and bioproducts processing. My current project is to extract beneficial compounds such as antioxidants from berry leaves. Over the years, I have worked with various raw materials such as honey, palm kernel shells, and natural pigments.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

I studied chemical engineering during my undergraduate years. My university was focused on the field of oil and gas. During those years, I started to lose interest. I remember going to career fairs in high school and took brochures on biotechnology and sciences, and probably not once on engineering. There is a joke saying that students always thought that chemistry is related to chemical engineering, so when I obtained a scholarship, I took it. Fortunately, when I did some soul searching and read about other prospects of a chemical engineer, I stumbled upon a report on global food wastage by an engineering institution. I felt that something needs to be done and that was the turning point. I tried to be involved in the food sector as much as possible after that. I am now pursuing a PhD in food science.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"

Be open to explore your interests and be persistent in them. You can excel in any field as long as you put your heart into it. The society has common misconceptions such as 'engineers earn more than scientists' and 'girls shouldn't do engineering' so do read up more and seek advice from others who have done it. I wish I studied food science or biotechnology in my undergraduate years.

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

STEM is very wide, it is endless that you could learn and be stimulated with new ideas. I look at the bigger picture of reducing global food loss and waste with my abilities and capacities.

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

Pursue your interests and believe in yourself. There will be challenges but you will grow with them.

INSPO / FUN FACT

You miss 100% of the shots you don't take

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