Getting to Know Milda Embuscado September 2018

Milda EmbuscadoFacing technical challenges and finding ways to solve them are two of the things Milda Embuscado enjoys most about her work as a senior principal scientist in Materials & Processing Technology R&D at McCormick & Co.

“I work on medium and long-term research projects on flavors, flavor encapsulation, emulsion science, and on spices and herbs,” she says. “The primary focus of my current projects is on extraction and encapsulation of flavors, but I am also called upon to find solutions to technical and plant issues.”

Along with Embuscado’s solid base of knowledge, she finds that one of the keys to on-the-job problem solving is being open to the views of others “because you learn from everyone and it should not surprise you when an idea comes from an ‘unlikely’ source.”

Before joining McCormick, Embuscado worked as a research scientist at the Whistler Center for Carbohydrate Research in the Department of Food Science at Purdue University, where she earned her PhD and further developed her passion for research under the tutelage of James BeMiller, a world- renowned carbohydrate chemist and, says Embuscado, “one of the people I admire in our profession.”

The inspiration she received from BeMiller and other mentors—including professors Phil Nelson, Suzanne Nielsen, and Jay Marks from Purdue; Hamed Faridi from McCormick; and Sakharam Patil from Cerestar—taught Embuscado the importance of giving back.

In addition to chairing the Carbohydrate Division, she has twice chaired the Nutraceutical and Functional Foods Division. She has also been a member of the Division Enhancement Committee and the Division Champion Team, and has served on the Annual Meeting Scientific Program Advisory Panel as well as the Leadership Team for Nutraceutical and Functional Foods.

Citing one of her most memorable volunteer experiences, she says, “Being a member of the Division Champion Team has been a very impactful and meaningful experience to me because, as with any organization, the time will come that work needs to be done to make the division become relevant to its goals, to its membership, and to the times—and finding ways to do this is not easy, [but] having that team to interact with has been an exceptional experience; being an active member in a division, one finds fulfillment and friends for life.”

Aside from the sense of accomplishment that comes with volunteering, Embuscado says her work with IFT has benefitted her in other ways. From her fellow members, she has learned “things that otherwise I would not learn in my job because of the diversity of technical expertise of the people one meets at IFT.”

For IFT members who may want to spread their wings and take on a larger role, Embuscado says, “Start by joining a division close to your heart and profession; you don’t have to take on a lot of responsibilities at the start; observe and make friends, and everything falls into place.”

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