The Faculty of Engineering, through the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Department of Industrial Engineering, hosted Prof. Brian A. Nummer, Ph.D. of the Utah State University (USU) from July 24 to August 5, 2017. Prof. Nummer’s visit was funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the Department of State of the United States of America through a Grant under Fulbright Specialists Program (FSP). The Grant was awarded to the Faculty of Engineering for an approved proposal submitted by the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Prof. Philipina A. Marcelo, Ph.D., as the main proponent. Dean Marcelo’s proposal was approved and endorsed to ECA by the Philippine-American Educational Foundation (PAEF) – the Fulbright Commission in the Philippines.

Prof. Nummer is a Food Safety Specialist with more than three decades of experience in various places in the world, including Indonesia and Hong Kong. Aside from teaching and research, Prof. Nummer works as Extension Specialist in Food Safety under the Home, Family & Food Group of USU’s Extension Program. He has a wealth of experience in guiding food entrepreneurs to grow their enterprise with emphasis on Food Safety, as well as advising big corporations and restaurants on Food Safety. As such, Prof. Nummer guided faculty members in the Faculty of Engineering and Institute of Information and Computing Sciences (IICS) in designing their Technopreneurship Course Plan in a two-day Seminar-Workshop. He also conducted a one-day Food Safety Seminar, with focus on the state of Food Safety Knowledge for ASEAN countries and the Food Safety Modernization Act. This was attended by faculty members in the Faculty of Engineering and the Department of Food Technology of UST, and from other universities. It was also attended by Food Safety personnel from hospitals, the food industry and concerned government agencies.

Dr. Nummer also spent time with students in a campus tour and a seminar where he introduced USU to Engineering students. He discussed various opportunities that are available to undergraduate students under USU’s and UST’s Student Mobility Programs as well as Graduate Studies opportunities. He also discussed joint research works between UST and USU.

Dean Marcelo and the immediate past chairperson of the Department of Chemical Engineering, Engr. Mark Emile H. Punzalan, have been working on a research project involving food safety with focus on coconut water. They are working on the cold pasteurization of coconut water from young and mature coconut by microfiltration (MF). Their project involves the design of a pilot-scale MF system that can be easily and conveniently used on-site by farmers in coconut farms. MF is a membrane separation technique; a “gentle technology”, which filters out spoilage bacteria from coconut water, rendering it to be microbially sterile without the application of heat. As such, the sensory quality of microfiltered coconut water is highly satisfactory. The project is part of the Faculty of Engineering’s planned Research-based Community Development Program. They hope to use this as a model project in the Program. Therefore, a collaboration with Prof. Nummer is important. This and technopreneurship were the bases of Dean Marcelo’s FSP proposal.

Assistant Dean Rhoderick Asis, Asst. Prof. Evangeline Deleña and Engr. Charlie A. Marquez joined the new chairperson of the Department of Chemical Engineering, Engr. Jhulimar A. Celedonio, M.Sc., and the chairperson of the Industrial Engineering Department, Engr. Angelo Ildefonso Valte, III, MBA, in coordinating activities. Also, in the spirit of cooperation and collaboration, the Department of Food Technology of the College of Education, through the chairperson, Asst. Prof. Elizabeth H. Arenas, Ph.D., and the Department of Entrepreneurship of the College of Commerce and Business Administration