Getting to Know Oluwafemi Adebo May 2018

Oluwafemi AdeboGrowing up in the slums of Mushin, says Oluwafemi Adebo, doctoral student at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa, brought to light the difference that nutritious food can make in the lives of people. “I subsequently developed an utmost desire and insatiable thirst for knowledge about food, which has continued to propel my curiosity,” he says. “The desire for finding solutions to the challenges of food insecurity motivated my choice of food science as the discipline of study.”

After completing his degree, Adebo intends to apply his knowledge to ensuring food security in Africa and the world at large. He explains, “Although various issues, including crime, political instability, and economic recession, among others, are plaguing the world, availability and accessibility to safe, sufficient, and nutritious food continues to be a priority.” His passion for food science, he says, “is thus born out of the desire to develop and ‘reinvent’ food to ensure it is safe, nutritious, and confers health benefits.”

Helping people to live better lives is one of Adebo’s driving forces. “While my bit may not readily address the overarching challenges of food insecurity, I believe my little effort will cause a ripple that would subsequently affect lives,” he says. As such, he hopes to work in an R&D environment that offers a degree of freedom to innovate and implement his ideas.

Adebo first learned about the IFT Student Association (IFTSA) during his undergraduate days at Moshood Abiola Polytechnic in Nigeria but did not join until he became a postgraduate student at the University of Johannesburg. He is currently a board member of IFTSA, serving as a member at large. In this role, he says, “I usually work with the Office of the IFTSA president on initiatives and programs that would serve the interest of IFTSA members. When there is need to, I equally provide perspectives on the board.

“Volunteering has improved my confidence, leadership, and management skills, as well as communication ethos,” he adds. “Some of this I do apply in my daily activities. I have also been able to meet amazing people in IFT and long-lasting friends in IFTSA!”

After graduation, Adebo looks forward to undertaking research that will contribute to the well-being of others. Of particular interest is fermentation, an aspect of food science that, he says, “fascinates me quite a lot, as it’s absolutely amazing how food is transformed through the actions of beneficial microorganisms. The analytical part of food science is also of significant interest, especially food metabolomics/foodomics, an emerging field.”

Fulfilling his desire to find solutions to the challenges of food insecurity will require a mix of many skills, both scientific and personal. Taking on the role of volunteer has augmented Adebo’s knowledge about the importance of personal relationships and has added a valuable dimension to his professional skills.

“Volunteering is an absolutely rewarding experience and an investment in one’s career,” he says. “It is a learning platform, an avenue to interact with like minds, build networks, and expand existing ones. I would really encourage others to do the same.”

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Vice President, Volunteer Leadership Development
Executive Director, Feeding Tomorrow

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Manager, Volunteer Leadership Development and Recognition