Student Spotlight: Norbismi Nordin
March 17, 2009
In Norbismi Nordin’s native Malaysia, food packaging is not as developed as it is here, and people pay it little attention.
“We always go for fresh food with a short shelf life,” Nordin said. “The lay people don’t have any idea that packaging is important.”
And though much of our nation’s food is sealed, canned or individually wrapped, she added, some Americans take the work of packaging engineers for granted; when she arrived in the United States in 2003, an immigration officer asked her why anyone would need a doctorate in packaging.
Nordin is at work on her Ph.D. and will complete her ESP courses this spring, having earned a master’s degree in packaging from MSU in 2005.
She majored in chemical engineering as an undergraduate in Malaysia, but wanted her graduate work to connect her engineering knowledge to food packaging.
She said graduate-level engineering courses would have left her little time to spend with her husband and daughters.
“I highly respect people who have families and are doing graduate studies in engineering,” she said.
Nordin became part of the ESPP specialization to learn more about social science, and her research examines packaging through that lens.
She’s especially interested in establishing labeling guidelines for sustainable packaging, and for products that contain nanotechnology.
“People have a right to know what’s inside,” she said. “It’s their right to decide to buy what’s in a package.”
Nordin’s studies are sponsored by the Malaysian government, so when she finishes her work here, she’ll return to her home and teach at Universiti Putra Malaysia, which, like MSU, is an agriculture-based land grant university.
Her goal: turn the school’s few courses on food packaging into a comprehensive program.
“I intend to bring more perspective on packaging than just food,” she said.
“It’s exciting, but it’s going to be a lot of work.”
Written by Andy McGlashen, former News Writer for Environmental Science and Policy Program.