Getting to Know Jose Reyes De Corcuera April 2018

Jose Reyes De CorcueraThe only limits we face in our self-development, believes Jose Reyes De Corcuera, associate professor and undergraduate coordinator in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of Georgia, are those we place on ourselves.

Academic life, he says, offers a great way to challenge yourself and cultivate new ideas, “because you are surrounded by incredibly smart people from whom you learn a lot, and you get to teach equally smart people who one day will do more than you and your colleagues.” By feeding your curiosity and expanding your scope of interest, he adds, “you can direct your research in any direction.”

Reyes, who holds a BS in chemical engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and an MS in chemical engineering and PhD in engineering science from Washington State University, began his career as a project manager at CPI-Südmo, an engineering firm in Mexico City, where he worked on building beverage processing plants, mostly for the soda industry. After completing his graduate studies, he served as assistant professor, then associate professor, of food process engineering at the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center.

Reyes started volunteering with IFT more than 10 years ago, serving as treasurer of the Florida Section and later as an abstract reviewer and poster competition judge for the student competition in the Food Engineering Division. Since then, he has served as secretary for the Food Engineering Division, as well as chair-elect, chair, and past chair.

“About two years ago,” he says, “I was kindly invited to serve in HERB and in the Division Champion Team. As a result of conversations at the Division Champion Team, I was also asked to serve as chair of the Education, Extension, and Outreach Division as well as chair for the Teaching and Learning Workgroup. I have also organized a few symposia.”

Each contact Reyes has made through his volunteer experiences has enriched him. “I have met several colleagues whose spirit of service, scientific talent, and teaching passion inspire me,” he acknowledges. In addition, he has gleaned helpful insight from past leaders and volunteers and is also quick to recognize “the student representatives of the Food Engineering Division whose commitment, leadership, and professionalism have been amazing.

“In the several committee meetings [in which] I have served,” he adds, “I have learned how other food science professionals think and behave. This has broadened my understanding of our community and our global society. This network of high caliber food scientists and engineers has helped me improve my research and my teaching. Several colleagues have become my friends at a personal level. They have supported and cheered me in times of physical and emotional fatigue.”

Looking ahead, Reyes feels optimistic about the increased awareness of food waste as well as the growing concern about feeding developing countries. “I think that the technologies developed by food scientists in collaboration with engineers, nutritionists, and horticulturists will continue to have a global impact on that front. I hope that despite the polarization that we are living [with] today, a more connected world will contribute to dissolving the prevailing indifference.”

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