The AGNR food biotechnology program at the University of Maryland

Date: December 23, 2010

 Department of Biological Science and Technology, College of Life Sciences, Student, Chin-Wei Chiang
Editor, General Education Center, Lecturer Chiara Benham
The University of Maryland is located in Maryland State is listed as number 18 amongst other universities in the world. There is not a lot of pollution at the University of Maryland because it is located on the outskirt of the city. There are two things I noticed about the University, one is that the campus is very pretty and the other is that sports are very popular there. Both men and women’s basketball teams have won the championships in the USA. The aspect that I did not like about the University was the traffic. However, I still think that it is an excellent university.
All the students who studied abroad from CMU participated in the AGNR food biotechnology program at the University of Maryland. This subject focuses on how to use biotechnology in foods in order to make foods more beneficial and less harmful for humans. Fortunately, I have basic background that I learned from the department of Biotechnology Science and Technology at the China Medical University. This helped me to understand the course and how to apply my knowledge in food science. Dr. Martin Lo, our professor, comes from Taiwan. He has taught many students at University of Maryland for many years. He also advises students for their Ph. D. degrees.

At first I didn’t have the courage to speak English. However, Dr. Lo encouraged me to talk with him. In Taiwan, we seldom have chances to write our answers to quizzes in English. At the University of Maryland I was able to practice my writing ability. Our teaching assistant, Sarah, also helped us to write better. She gave us tips on how to write an article. During the weekend all the students who studied abroad went on a journey to Washington D.C. were there are many museums. We went there by ourselves. I think this was a good chance for us to talk to other people in English. I think that my English has improved after this program.

Dr. Lo took us to visit some laboratories, such as biotechnology lab, nanotechnology lab, plants lab…etc. We met a lot of professors there. They taught us a lot of things, such as why we should do the research, how to solve a problem, and what we should do after receiving the data. I was also given ideas and ways to plan for my future. Besides visiting the laboratories, I also visit the MedImmune, which is a company researching vaccines for medicine. This company showed me that it is important to combine research and industry.

In the presentation, the students were asked to separate into 7 groups. Luckily, I had a good team, because both my partners are very smart and kind people. Moreover, they helped me with the presentation. However, I was still very nervous.

After the presentations the students were given a final exam. Dr. Lo gave us some information about how to manage nanotechnology. We had to organize this information and then synthesize a new viewpoint on how the Taiwan government should regulate nanotechnology in food. This experience was a challenge for me. In Taiwan we usually read the textbook and then write down the answer, not what I thought. It was very difficult even though we were given some information. However, I was not defeated by this exam. I was successful because I searched for other information from internet. It helped me a lot. Finally, I passed the exam and had good grade.

I am appreciative and glad that I was able to join this program. I learnt a lot of things and made some friends. At first I didn’t dare speak English, but now I think it is very funny after experiencing this program. Next time, I know I will be more than willing to participate in a program like this.

(Chinese Version.)


Group photo in bioreactor lab
Receiving the certificate in the end of program