On Monday, PepsiCo hosted a ‘company day’ at the New York Academy of Sciences. We invited 50 students and young scientists who are all in Masters, PhD or post-doc programs to spend the day with several leaders from PepsiCo’s global R&D team. Through panel discussions, roundtables, and one-on-one interactions students learned about research opportunities and our efforts to develop products using science-based nutrition.
PepsiCo is committed to building world class R&D for addressing challenges in our industry and the first step is putting the right team in place. As a young scientist, starting out in my career I remember the experiences that helped me identify what I was most interested in, and helped guide my career. I know the same is true for many of my colleagues. This is why days like yesterday are so important – it’s our chance to support the next generation of scientists. In turn, we hope that some of these young scientists will support PepsiCo’s R&D goals and our industry in the future.
We have a great internship program at PepsiCo and some of the students we met will join our team for the summer or a semester to work on product development, nutrition, ingredient application, sensory, commercialization engineering, food safety, health policy, and beverage applications. A few will even have the opportunity to work with the PepsiCo R&D team in China.
Today our team is asking questions like:
- What are nutrient requirements and current intake gaps for populations in key countries like India, China, Russia and Brazil?
- How can we better retain the nutrition attributes for fruit based products?
- What are the dietary patterns and calorie demands of people living in key countries?
- How can we use material science and food packaging technologies to minimize our packaging while ensuring the safety and quality of our products?
- What kinds of products and approaches should PepsiCo develop to meet the needs of the world’s one billion under-nourished people?
The opportunities for a young scientist are extensive, and working in the private sector is one of many good options. Too many times however, scientists are not aware of the ways they can apply real science to important global problems by joining a company such as PepsiCo. Every day at PepsiCo I am inspired by the people I work with and proud of the impact of our work. I hope the students I met yesterday enjoyed the time they spent with us and will consider the opportunities they will have by joining our team.