Grad Spotlight: Shpresa Musa
This is a continuation of our "IANR is Global" series, which highlights the many ways internationalization is woven through the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources: through research collaboration, government and private industry partnerships, extension work, student educational experiences and the IANR community from around the world.
This edition is specifically focused on the diverse array of individuals with experience from around the world who are graduating this year and last year. Shpresa Musa, a native of Kosovo, will receive her master’s degree in food science and technology during this month's ceremonies. We appreciate the community we are fortunate to have from all over the world, as shown by their many and varied contributions to the work of the university and our continued mission to create a globally engaged institution. To this end, we want to help our campus community get to know each other (and the world) more, starting with these individuals.
How did your first get interested in your field? What was your previous education?
Since I was a young girl, I always had a passion for learning new things and challenging myself to try and experience new things. Food science was something I never studied before I went to undergraduate school. I grow up in a small town in Kosovo, where I did my undergrad at University of Mitrovica, and I received my bachelor’s degree in Food Engineering and Technology. During my undergrad years, my interest in food sciences increased where I had the chance to learn more about the ingredients of food, microbiology, chemistry of food, and many more interesting things. As an undergrad student, I had the chance to study for a semester in the Netherlands as an exchange student. This was my first experience abroad which enabled me to develop new interests, learn new skills and meet new people. It also made me understand the importance of research and grow the interest in me for further education in this field.
Tell me about your path to Nebraska.
When Fulbright opened the call for the scholarship application in Kosovo, I decided to apply without knowing that this would be the best decision I’ve ever made. After I was selected a finalist, my application for master’s program was sent to four different universities in the US. I decided to pursue my education at UNL for many reasons, especially for the course quality and content, a strong reputation and a high quality of research in Food Science department.
What have been some challenges you’ve faced here? Opportunities? Things that surprised you?
Moving thousands of miles away from home and starting something new is always challenging. When I started my first semester it was hard to adjust to new environment and school. Working during the pandemic time had its own challenges as well. However, I had the opportunity to get the proper training in the lab, which allowed me to be independent and work by myself on the research. I had the opportunity to meet new people, learn new things, and make new friends. One thing that surprised for good was the hospitality of people here! Everyone told me the famous saying, “There’s no place like Nebraska,” and I strongly agree with that. If anyone asks me where to study abroad, Nebraska will be my first suggestion.
Who was your advisor? Anything you’d like to share about them? Or say to them?
My advisor was Dr. Andreia Bianchini, and I feel lucky that I had the chance to work with her. She is a very hardworking woman and truly inspired me to do better each day. I’d like to thank her for being so supportive since day one.
What do you plan to do now? What are your future goals/plans?
I will pursue my doctoral studies starting this fall. I got a PhD position in the Department of Bioactive and Functional Food Chemistry at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. My long-term goal is focusing on research and teaching.
How has your time at Nebraska impacted you in what you will go on to do?
Absolutely, YES in many ways! My research for my master's thesis focused on pre-milling intervention to improve the safety of soft and hard wheat, as well as the functionality of both wheat flours, respectively. As I deepen into the research, my interest in wheat/wheat-based products grow. This is how I decided to further dive in into this field by pursuing my doctoral studies.
Are you or someone you know graduating this year (or the future) and have an international element to your work, studies or experiences you'd like to see highlighted? Contact Brianne at email@example.com.