Joseph Bernard Tarnate
Field of Study: Food Science and Technology – Dairy Processing
Hometown: Lipa City, Philippines
Fun fact: I love anything grilled!
Why did you choose to pursue the MPS degree program?
As I was approaching my graduation for my bachelor’s degree, I knew that I wasn’t ready to work in the industry just yet. I wanted to explore other options and expand my knowledge within the ag industry. I chose the MPS program because of its short duration and the flexibility it provides for students to tailor their research and experiences to their own personal desires and interests. It’s a great program for students who want to work in the industry soon after completing undergraduate but just might want to learn a few more special skills prior to working.
What were you doing prior to the MPS degree program?
Prior to attending Cornell, I was an undergraduate student at University of Florida pursuing a degree in Animal Science. After gaining knowledge on the production side of agriculture, I wanted to learn more about the processing side. Cornell’s Food Science Department offers amazing courses taught by renowned professors in the industry.
What are the strengths of the MPS program?
A major strength of the MPS program is its flexibility in allowing students pursue their true passion within the boundaries of the program. PhD and MS programs often limit students to a particular area of study as their grants dictate their scope of research. The MPS program allows students to do research in just about any area that interests them so long as it is within the boundaries of the program. It also allows students to take classes outside of their program and college.
What words would you use to describe the MPS degree program?
Flexible, fast, valuable, challenging, life changing
What have been some of your most rewarding moments at Cornell?
Cornell has provided me with so many rewarding moments, including career events, alumni events, competitions and a wide variety of resources available to students.
I was granted the opportunity to join a product development team in which we competed in the National Dairy Council New Product Competition. Through this experience, I gained so many valuable lessons and provided me an opportunity to apply the knowledge I learned in lectures/classrooms to hands-on experiences. Currently, the product we developed, MooVit, is one of the Top 3 finalists for the competition.
Another rewarding opportunity is when I participated at the Cornell Digital Hackathon in which my team won “Best Market-Ready Device/Product.” Upon winning this competition, some members of the group decided to move forward with the idea and turn it into a company.
Lastly, events at Cornell allow to students to build their network with industry leaders. Many of Cornell’s alumni hold great positions at different companies and they are always more than willing to help another fellow Cornellian be successful.
What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
Short-term: Focus on establishing the startup company with my other two co-founders. We hope to make an impact in the lives of dairy farmers and in the society as a whole as well.
Long-term: Continue to make an impact in any way possible especially within the realm of agriculture and technology. With less and less job acquisitions within agriculture, digital technology must be improved in order to meet the world’s food demand.
What courses stand out as most helpful for your specific career goals?
Almost all of the courses I took throughout the year made an impact or were helpful for my specific career goals. The courses are set up to be congruent with others, allowing students to understand the lessons on a more holistic level. An advantage of the MPS program is it allows students to take classes outside of Food Science and even outside of CALS. Project Management was such an interesting class as it is very applicable in many different ways no matter your chosen career path.
What advice would you give an undergraduate student considering the program?
I would advise incoming students to first find what their passion is or what area of research interests them. Once they are able to identity that, they can begin looking up the faculty members to find which ones best fit their interests. I think this is one of the most important aspects that I missed out on because the MPS program is extremely fast. A year goes by quickly! By knowing what you want to do, or what research you want to conduct, can save a lot of time.
How have the faculty supported your educational goals?
The faculty, to say the least, are amazing. The perspective, knowledge, and ideas they share with students on a daily basis is truly invaluable. The faculty are among the industry-leaders and have a lot of influence in the food industry or in ag as a whole.
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