Nara Cardoso Barato writes: I was born in Ribeirão Preto, a town located in São Paulo State, Brazil, and have spent most of my life here. Thanks to a few years’ stay in California, I learned to speak, read and write English. I soon found I had quite an aptitude for maths – very possibly as my mother taught maths at my school.
At the age of 18, I moved to Campinas, only 90km North from São Paulo city, to take an undergraduate course at Unicamp (State University of Campinas).
I studied maths for two years, but there came a point when I felt like I needed a more practical approach, so I switched to food engineering. The maths studies did not go to waste, however, as I found I could apply much of it to the new course. During my undergraduate course, I had the opportunity to train for one semester in a chemical institute in Hamburg, Germany. Later, when I was back at Campinas, I participated in a traineeship in quality control for a pasta production factory.
When I graduated I decided to specialise in membrane separation process. During my masters’ course (also at Unicamp), I worked mostly with cashew apple juice clarification using membranes. Cashew apple is a tropical fruit, originally from the Brazilian Northeast. This product caught my attention because I became aware that 90% of the total national cashew production is wasted every year due to lack of proper preservation methods, among other things. I’d like to be able to improve productivity here and hope that my studies will make a difference.
My future plans are to continue learning and working in the field of food engineering.