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Ewen Trafford wanted to find a way to turn his biological sciences undergraduate degree into a career that fed his growing fascination with food and nutrition. He looked for a master's course accredited by the Association for Nutrition at a university with a renowned Food and Nutritional Sciences Department, and discovered Reading.

"When I visited the University, it cemented my belief that it was the perfect place for me to study and grow, both as an individual and as a nutritionist. Meeting some of the teaching staff and being able to explore the vast campus is the only way to really get a sense of what life at the University is like. Reading topped the list due to its ideal location, world class teaching staff, eminent academics and the superb research opportunities and career prospects."

Going with your gut

So what aspects of the MSc Nutrition and Food Science programme at Reading particularly appealed to Ewen? He explains that it was the diverse course content, the gut model laboratories, and the renown of the Department.

"The microbiological aspects of the course were of particular interest to me. This subject inspired me to undertake my summer project on prebiotics, an emerging nutritional trend with potentially huge implications for health in the coming years. The gut model labs enabled me to use in vitro systems to test the effects of a novel prebiotic on samples of gut bacteria from volunteers."

Although his main interest is nutrition, he's also found the food science aspects of the course useful since graduating.

A public career in nutrition

Ewen works at the British Nutrition Foundation, courtesy of the Drummond internship programme. The Foundation is a registered charity that provides nutrition and health-related information to the general public. Ewen has been involved in a number of diverse projects in this role, including the structuring and writing of online courses, the creation of learning materials for use in primary and secondary schools and answering nutrition-related queries from the general public.

"During my time at Reading, I developed knowledge of the fundamentals of nutrition and food science, which served as an excellent springboard to enter the job market. The breadth of the course was one of the key factors that has aided me in my current role – the areas of the course covering public health nutrition have been particularly beneficial as my role requires me to disseminate public health information accurately and in a way that can be clearly understood."

Ewen emphasises that the British Nutrition Foundation has significant interactions with a number of professors from the University of Reading, whose opinions are highly valued.

"Within the field of nutrition, the University of Reading is widely acknowledged as housing some of the most esteemed academics in the UK. It's a great place to study because your qualification will instantly show that you've received a top class education in the field of nutrition."

Ewen feels that the close interaction with academics during his studies bolstered his work ethic and made his future career choices clearer.

"The course will really open your eyes to the numerous aspects of nutrition and food science and your lecturers will be happy to help you pursue any of these avenues further for your future career."

Athena SWAN Silver Award