I got to know Chidinma through a mutual friend on LinkedIn called Chizoba Rita Enechukwu. I wanted to know what drives her passion for the food science industry. Here is her STEM story;
Hi Chidinma, thank you for joining us today, and for accepting to share your story through us
Hi, Winnie! Thank you for reaching out. I remember reading through Chizoba’s story and was very impressed by the work you do. It is commendable and I am honoured to share my story.
Thank you for the kind words. Please introduce yourself to the audience
My name is Chidinma Ezinne Ochulor from Nigeria. I am a Food Quality Assurance Professional, currently working as a Quality Assurance Officer at Promasidor Nigeria Limited; one of the leading food manufacturers in Nigeria and Africa.
Briefly explain how you joined the food science industry
I’ve always been a brilliant mind growing up. School and education in it’s entirety has always been interesting to me right from childhood. I spent roughly 3 weeks in Primary 3 before the school authority wrote my parents a letter suggesting that I be promoted to Primary 4 because of my performance. I moved up to Primary 4 and still continued to top the class.
Moving on, I attended a boarding secondary school and I diligently worked my way to top the class each term. My parents, teachers and even my classmates thought I would study Medicine or Nursing or something similar at the university. I surprised everyone and chose to study Food Science and Technology at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. I had an uncle (of blessed memory), who worked with Nigerian Breweries till he passed. He usually brought some of his share of the company products to us during the festive periods. My young mind kept imagining how these products were made. I wanted to witness food processing at an industrial scale. I wanted to be a part of the whole manufacturing process, from start to finish!
That drive was what influenced my choice of course of study at the university. I would say I did well in it as I graduated as the second best in the department (class of 2016) with a CGPA of 4.45/5.00.
You did really well, congratulations!
You have not faced much resistance when it comes to class content in your chosen field. What challenges have you instead faced along this food science journey?
The challenges I have faced so far usually launch me to something bigger and at the end of the day it wouldn’t seem like a challenge any more. However, I would say that the greatest challenge I have faced in my life was my mum’s passing when I was only 15.
And, during that time or even after, what inspired you to continue moving forward?
My family (my dad and my siblings) have always inspired me to move forward and be the best I can be. Their support means the world to me.
You have enjoyed walking a journey of your choice; tell us about some of your prestigious moments of recognition
I started getting awards right from childhood. The first remarkable achievement was double promotion from primary 2 to 4 due to my performance. My art submission also won the school an award from Cadbury Bournvita.
In secondary school I was recognized as the best graduating student in subjects like Biology, Agricultural Science, Geography, Igbo language and a few others.
At the University of Nigeria Nsukka, I graduated as the second best in my class. My undergraduate research project was published in 2020 on the American Journal of Food Science and Technology and also as a chapter in the textbook, Advances of Food Science.
In October 2020, I surpassed thousands of participants and emerged as the best performer in the endline assessment of Jobberman Soft Skills Training. I was awarded a brand new laptop.
You really love what you do! What else takes part of your time?
Outside of work, I lead a quiet life. When I’m free from work, I watch TV series, read novels, do some fashion illustrations and create content which I share on my LinkedIn page.
What’s your favourite quote?
My favourite quote is a statement made by Theodore Roosevelt (the 26th President of the United States) which says “Believe you can, and you’re halfway there”.
What is your word of encouragement for a young girl in STEM
Dear young girl in STEM, apply yourself! You can be anything you want to be if you think and believe that you can. Don’t write yourself off. Give yourself a chance.
Thank you, Chidinma! You were very prompt when I contacted you. For that, I am truly grateful. I wish you more success in life; may you continue winning those awards.