Technical Officer, Specialty & Paediatrics Ingredients, Fonterra Research and Development Centre, Palmerston North
Bachelor of Science in Food Science
She loves learning new things every day in her work, says AUT food science alumna Martia Julienne Alico who now works for Fonterra, one of the largest dairy companies in the world.
“What I enjoy most is the fact that Fonterra is not just a workplace for me, but a place of continuous learning. Every day I learn new things from the tasks I work on or from the people around me. The Fonterra Research and Development Centre is home to some of the best scientists in the country.”
As a technical officer, Martia is responsible for providing independent technical support for research outputs in the areas of characterisation, development and commercialisation of specialty dairy ingredients and paediatric formulations.
“I’ve strived hard to get to where I am today, and AUT has really moulded me and helped me overcome the impediments that came my way. I enjoy the fact that I can now use the leadership skills, scientific knowledge and social awareness I gained from my time at AUT in my current role.”
Discovering a new passion
She has been fascinated by chemistry since she was a girl, Martia says.
“I’ve always known that the field of chemistry would be part of my future career. However, I didn’t encounter food science until I immigrated to New Zealand from the Philippines in 2012. At that time, I found a voluntary job in a food laboratory in Auckland, which sparked my interest in any food-related field involving chemistry.”
Choosing where to study food science was easy, she says.
“I was introduced to AUT by a work colleague who had just graduated from AUT. When I did some more research about my study options, two things stood about AUT: the large amount of laboratory work as part of the degree, and the level of diversity at the university.”
Creating world-ready graduates
There were many highlights throughout her studies, Martia says.
“AUT staff are approachable and supportive of their students, and AUT offers a good combination of theoretical and practical learning. Based on my experiences, employers prefer candidates who are familiar with laboratory equipment and who have strong analytical skills. These two I believe give AUT graduates the edge compared to other science graduates in New Zealand. I am a proud graduate of AUT.”
Being able to try her hand at new product development was another highpoint for Martia.
“When I was in my third year, I chose the New Product Development paper, which deepened my understanding of research and development. The paper really opened the door to my current job. I learned so much in the year I was working on a project and the skills I gained from that experience were essential during the interview for this role and, most importantly, in my day to day job here at Fonterra.”