Nazanin Rafati

Nazanin Rafati

Research & Development Technologist, Tip Top Ice Cream Company

In a nutshell: Making new new ice cream flavours.

Why? "I get to eat ice cream everyday! Making ice cream is enjoyable but also challenging, so I get to apply my science background while also having a lot of fun."

Pathway: Otumoetai College, final year subjects: Biology, Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, History, Technology
University of Auckland: Bachelor of Biotechnology (Honours)
Massey University - Palmerston North: Master of Dairy Science and Technology

I was certain that I wanted to be a doctor and began studying medicine at university. I soon discovered that it wasn't the right career for me – I fainted at the sight of a dead person!

I transferred into the Biotechnology course and in my final year was accepted for the Fonterra Graduate Programme. I completed my Master's degree on new product development – I absolutely loved the kind of work I was doing, so I joined the Tip Top team.

While studying I received a research scholarship and worked for Comvita that summer. I was involved in proving the health benefits of olive leaf extract.

For the final year of my degree I had to complete a research project. I worked on validating the microbiological conversion of waste from the wine making industry into a gluten-free, high-fibre and low-sugar flour alternative.

My day-to-day work can vary massively depending on the projects. I can be working alone in the lab on a new product, problem-solving with the team to assist the factory, or talking with suppliers about ingredients and other services they provide us.

New product development starts with testing different flavours, colours and ingredients in the laboratory. The combination that comes out on top will then be made in the factory and sold in supermarkets.

I have travelled from Auckland to Christchurch for work, and there will be overseas trips in the future.

You need to be able to work in a team but also get things done on your own – being organised is also really important as you might have five different things happening at the same time.

From here I could progress to a senior Research & Development role or move into different areas within Tip Top, such as marketing or quality assurance.

Posted May 2017

Follow this pathway:

Degree in Biology: Biotechnology, Biochemistry, Microbiology or Molecular Biosciences

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Futureintech is an initiative of Engineering New Zealand, funded by Callaghan Innovation