Ep. 055 – Balancing Work and Graduate School with Jocelyn Ngo, R+D Food Scientist at Day-Lee Foods

Download Link (Right Click, Save As)

Today I interview my friend and alumni Jocelyn Ngo to the podcast and we get to talking about dreams and ambitions, and the like.

Jocelyn and I go way back. I knew her as a high energy stranger back at freshman orientation! Throughout the years, she was also very involved in Cal Poly, rising in the ranks of the food science clubs, doing product development competitions, even being on IFTSA’s board.

Jocelyn’s a hard worker, and a big part of this episode is about dealing with graduate school and work and your social life. If you choose to go that route, it’s not easy, but it will be rewarding.

If you enjoyed this episode, please, sign up on our email list at myfoodjobrocks.com, like us on facebook,  rate and review on itunes, and share with your friends. If you show interest in being interviewed, know someone who would be a great interviewer, or would like to join our team of volunteers, make sure to email us at podcast@myfoodjobrocks.com.


This episode is sponsored by FoodGrads, an interactive platform for the Food & Beverage Industry, which focuses on closing the gap between students/recent graduates and employers. With a broader mission to attract and retain people to a meaningful career in food. From Food Scientists to Farmers, Chefs to Plant Managers, QA Technicians to Dieticians or R&D to Sales, no matter what your passion–there’s something for everyone in Food—and they will help you find it.

Join FoodGrads for support, mentorship and guidance to start your career. You’ll see an amazing new website in Spring 2017. Just go to foodgrads.com

About Joceyln Ngo

I was born in Honolulu, Hi where I lived until I was about 10 years old. My Mom landed a new job in the central coast, so we moved to Salinas, Ca. Going into high school, I moved to Gilroy, Ca where I attended Gilroy High for two years. I ended up graduating from Ayala High School in Chino Hills, Ca. Growing up and during high school, I enjoyed playing volleyball and basketball. I still try to be very active in sports, when time permits. Traveling, eating, and enjoying time with people I love is what keeps me happy. If I could be the next Anthony Bourdain or Andrew Zimmerman, I’d be the most grateful person in the world!
I am currently a R&D Food Scientist at Day Lee Foods, Inc. where I develop frozen Asian meal kits under the label Crazy Cuisine. Previously I was a Food Technologist at STIR Foods where I developed soups, sauces, and salad dressings. I will be obtaining my Masters in Food Science at Chapman University this May and did my undergraduate degree at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo (aka the best school ever) where I was a very active member in the Food Science Department. I participated in the Jam and BBQ production team making products for retail sale as well as leading two IFTSA Mars Product Development Teams. This is where I fell in love with product development, problem solving is something I thrive off of. I also participated in the IFTSA College Bowl Competition at Cal Poly and at Chapman. The Food Science Club is where I started my involvement and served on the board for 3 years. During my senior year I was the VP of Membership Experiences for IFTSA on the Board of Directors, that was one of the best experiences I could ask for. There’s something to say about being surrounded by intelligent, like-minded people that are passionate about Food too. I am lucky to say I have fell in love with Food Science my freshman year of college and my passion has only grown stronger.

Key takeaways

  • How Pilot Trials can be stressful
  • How Jocelyn survives doing Graduate School (6 hours) and Working (10 hours)
  • How external matters can ruin products
  • Big insight on company culture

Question Summary

What do you tell people in a sentence or less?: I’m a food scientist: the chemistry and study of food
What questions are commonly asked when it comes to food science?: GMOs, Organic, What’s this ingredient?
What’s the most interesting day at your job?: Every day is interesting but you have to plan for it.
Describe the Steps It Took To Get To Where You Are Today: Went to Cal Poly –> Food Science Club Activities –> Internship –> Leprino –> Job at R+D –> Chapman Graduate School
Most important skill you need in your job: Perseverance. Pushing through months and months of development.
My food Job Rocks: I get to make a product and see it on the shelves
What would be your dream job?: Starting a non-profit. Or TV host of the show
What do you feel like is the most important to jobs?: Company Culture
Innovative Food Trends and Technology: Packaging and the Environment
Biggest Challenges in the Food Industry we Need to Face: Opposition of uneducated consumers.
Who Inspired you to Get Into Food?: Alton Brown and her family
Favorite Book: The Alchemist
Favorite Kitchen Item: Rubber Spatula
Favorite Food: Mango: Mango Sticky Rice
Any Advice for being in the Food Industry: Networking. Join IFT, working with your suppliers, it’s a small business
What would you tell your freshman self?: Work hard and have fun

Other Links

Developing Solutions for Developing Countries
Leprino Foods: Largest Mozzarella Company in the World
Anthony Bourdain
Alton Brown
Andrew Zimmerman
Chobani Flip Cup
Steam Bags
Encapsulated ingredients
Kerry Ingredients
Southern California IFT

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *