Profile: Tomi Olufunke Obe
Tomi Obe, of Nigeria, is in her second year as a Mississippi State student and poultry science major.
The senior transfer student is one of about a dozen Nigerian students in the department. She is part of an educational program between MSU and the Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology in her native country, set up to train future leaders in Nigeria's poultry industry.
In addition to her studies, Obe is a student worker in the MAFES Sales Store, most famous for its Edam and other varieties of cheese, as well as meats, peanut butter, jams, jellies and other products.
She says the experience of working in the store gives her an additional perspective on getting food from farm to table. And it's given her the chance to be part of a special tradition at MSU.
"It's crazy around the holiday season. The phone is ringing every second and people are coming in," Obe said. But she enjoys getting to know customers, and noted that her colleagues and supervisors "have been so wonderful."
Obe said she does whatever is needed as she works at the store, whether it's running the cash register, taking orders over the phone, gift wrapping, or packing boxes. "I do everything," she said. The work has helped her develop management skills and an appreciation for the marketing component of food sales.
"My favorite part is coming in every day, meeting different people, helping them and putting a smile on their faces. It makes me a happy person," she said. Obe's career goal is to contribute to food safety, cutting down on the instances of food-borne illnesses.
"Doing something in food safety is going to give me the opportunity to help people," she said. After graduating this coming spring, Obe wants to pursue a master's degree in poultry science. She said her education will help her contribute to solutions that will reduce deaths and diseases in the world.
In Nigeria, Obe studied animal health before focusing on poultry science at MSU. "When I was exposed to the things my professor taught us here, it made me want to help people through my field," she said.
Obe said she has enjoyed field trips to companies such as Tyson Foods, Inc.
"Seeing the food safety measures they put in place, that kind of fascinates me," she said.Writer: Allison Matthews | Photo: Russ Houston
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