Helping students find their place in the world of science
When Angeleah Browdy works with students, she’s often reminded of a younger version of herself.
She was always confident about her interest in science, but far less sure of where to go with it—and certainly not sure about how to make a career of it.
Early on as an undergraduate at the University of Delaware, she took a food science course, and everything changed.
Browdy, now a UF food science and human nutrition lecturer since 2002, found her niche, and was named the UF Faculty Adviser of the Year in 2009. Today she spends time teaching food science and helping students find their way into careers in science.
She’s been the adviser for UF’s Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences club, or MANRRS, since 2004, a University Preview adviser for more than six years and a food science and human nutrition adviser.
“Back in college, I knew I was interested in science, and I was interested in chemistry,” she said. “So I was figuring, OK, enough about all these protons and neutrons—what am I going to do with this stuff?”
While she was wondering, she took a one-credit food science seminar course that required a project. Hers had to do with making a sugar-free Italian ice cream taste good. This venture of developing an actual food product sealed the deal and the “foodie” scientist took form. Browdy went on to pursue her doctoral degree in food science at the University of Rhode Island where she worked on a project involving yeast sphingolipids.
As an instructor at UF, Browdy says she revels in introducing students to food science: food safety, food processing and technology and pointing out to them—as she puts it—that food is made up of edible chemicals. She uses a bottle of salad dressing as an example: The list of ingredients may be long, but everything on that list is there for a reason, to preserve the dressing or to stabilize it, keeping it nice and creamy.
Browdy spends considerable time in her role as adviser to the UF MANRRS chapter, but helping students succeed makes it worth the effort.
“I value those relationships,” she says. “It is difficult to describe in words, except to say that any small part I can play in their academic and professional development or successes gives me a great sense of accomplishment.”
And being recognized for her efforts? To use a food analogy, it’s icing on the cake.
“That was just awesome,” she said. “Someone has to nominate you for that one, so just knowing that someone out there thought I was deserving … that was really nice.”