sensory science graduate May Cheung headshot

Student Spotlight: May Cheung

May Cheung is an assistant professor of nutrition sciences at City University of New York, Brooklyn College and a recent graduate of UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s  Applied Sensory and Consumer Science Certificate Program. Her interest in sensory and consumer science began as a postdoctoral fellow studying chemosensory science and psychophysical techniques used by basic scientists.

Why did you decide to pursue training in sensory and consumer science and what made you decide to choose the UC Davis program?

I am a nutrition scientist by training. During grad school, I became interested in sensory nutrition, which is how taste and smell interact with diet to influence nutritional health. I then pursued a postdoctoral fellowship at the Monell Chemical Senses Center. While I was there, I learned that the food and beverage industry uses sensory science to help develop and assess performance of their products. I wanted to learn more about this application, so I decided to take the UC Davis Applied Sensory and Consumer Science Program to see how my skills and knowledge could be used in the food and beverage industry. I chose UC Davis because this certificate is listed as a recommended requirement in some job postings, and several colleagues at Monell also recommended the program.

How has our program helped you in your current position?

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It helps me translate my knowledge in psychophysical methodologies into applied sensory techniques. In the future, I wish to expand the capacity of my laboratory to start conducting sensory and consumer science studies to help industry partners gain business insights. 

What did you find most valuable about the program? 

My background is in academia and nutritional science, so one major takeaway for me is learning how to apply scientific knowledge into making business decisions. Also, the program provided insights into the operational aspects of the food and beverage industry, which was valuable to me. 

Would you recommend this program to others? 

I would absolutely recommend this program. It offers an excellent entry point to the field. The knowledge students gain from this course can be immediately used in the day-to-day work of someone who works in the industry. 

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