STEMExplore Virtual Career Connection with a Postharvest Scientist & Agricultural Engineer

October 13, 2020 4:00 PM


Join EarthEcho International as we highlight relatable voices in STEM careers! With STEMExplore, we invite female professionals to share their STEM journey with a live audience during dynamic virtual events.

The conversation will focus on women in STEM and the STEMExplore Mentor will share her personal journey and the positive influences that helped her to realize her professional capabilities.

During this 30-45 minute session, the participants will:
- Learn about agricultural and biological engineering as a career in general;
- Observe the day to day tasks of a postharvest scientist;
- Gain insight into a STEM career and learn the steps it takes to become a professional in this area;
- Ask interview questions of the STEMExplore expert.

Date: October 13, 2020 at 4:00 PM EASTERN

Topic/Career: Agricultural Science and Engineering, Food Science, Conservation

STEMExplore Mentor: Ratna Suthar, Postharvest Scientist and PhD Student at University of Florida in Gainesville, FL.


Ratna Suthar

Postharvest Scientist and PhD Student at University of Florida in Gainesville, FL

Ratna was born and raised in New Jersey. Growing up she had a love for learning the science behind everyday things including food and medicine. She was studying chemistry as an undergrad at University of South Florida where she got involved in research on food quality and shelf life of fresh produce. They looked at things like how Vitamin C levels change in strawberries as they go through supply chain conditions from harvest to market. It was fascinating that one could quantify quality – a subjective measure of consumer acceptability. Inspired to continue research, she applied to graduate program at UF Agricultural and Biological Engineering where she did a masters and now finishing her PhD.

According to FAO, by the year 2050 our population is going to reach 9 billion, and we will have to increase food availability to meet the demand. One way is to increase food production but another way by is reducing the amount of food loss/waste. Technologies such as controlled atmosphere packaging, edible coatings and finding optimal storage conditions can help alleviate this issue. The problem of food loss/waste has only been exacerbated due to COVID. It is imperative that we continue developing technologies to protect our food from going to waste.

Classroom Resources

STEMExplore Mentor Reflection Guide

Use this worksheet to allow students to reflect on their experience with a STEMExplore mentor after a Virtual Career Connection.

Science Standards