A Desire to Continue Learning Put Amaury Borges Miranda on a Path to Career Advancement
As a tobacco scientist, Amaury Borges Miranda’s first experience with the sensory science field was during a pairing session between a cigar and a rhum in 2009. That same year, he joined the sensory evaluation team for new products at the Tobacco Research Institute in Cuba, eventually becoming team leader. Borges amassed years of professional experience in the industry. However, although he held degrees in biochemistry, plant physiology and chemistry, he lacked the formal training in the sensory science field that could help him fully optimize the products he was developing.
Borges discovered UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s Applied Sensory and Consumer Science Certificate Program and applied immediately. “Even if I had a good amount of knowledge about the field, I soon realized the relevant impact the UC Davis program would have had on the framework of the product optimization study I was involved in,” he says. Borges was accepted to the program, but due to personal circumstances, he ended up waiting eight years before completing it in 2023.
Today, the Cuban native has more than a decade of experience in the sensory science industry and is currently a research scientist at YSQ International PTE LTD in Singapore, where he supports product development.
Making it Happen
When Borges joined YSQ in 2021, he decided to reapply to UC Davis’ sensory science certificate in the hopes of bringing value to his new team. “I felt I needed a broader picture about what sensory science can bring to companies. I wanted to gain insights about how organizations develop new products and improve existing ones,” he says. “I can surely say that I achieved my goals and even exceeded my expectations.”
Borges credits the online format of the certificate program as the number one reason he was able to pursue it. “The online experience allows you to learn while contributing to your employer, and also gives you the necessary freedom to allocate time for study based on your specific needs,” he says. Borges added that the opportunity to connect with sensory science professionals from around the world was invaluable. “The modules are very well structured, the lessons are informative, and the readings, complementary lectures, office hours and assignments are a very good accompaniment.”
A Rich Learning Experience
Borges appreciates the opportunity he had to learn from industry leaders. “The instructors have a myriad of knowledge in academia and industry, with real problem-solving skills,” he says. “It is remarkable the amount of complex knowledge that is condensed into a relatively short period. The curriculum effectively covers and integrates all knowledge a sensory scientist needs to excel in the field within any company.”
“This program gives you access to life stories of global leaders in the field, making you a better employee and equipping you to interact with other departments and external resources.”
Gaining Skills, Building Confidence
Throughout the program, Borges not only increased his knowledge on the foundations of sensory science, but he also discovered new sensory evaluation methods and consumer testing techniques. Most importantly, he valued the real-world applications of the program and insights on how sensory science teams can interact with various departments and external organizations.
Since completing the program, Borges says he now has the knowledge to work with any product. “I can apply the skills learned about statistical analysis and experimental design in complex systems to a wide variety of problems,” he says. “I have been able to prepare better, more concise and understandable reports on research within the field of sensory evaluation.
His improved performance at work has not gone unnoticed. In fact, halfway through the certificate program, he received a promotion. “My employer now trusts me more when assigning me tasks related to sensory evaluation and consumer tests, even if I am not involved directly in the evaluation.”
“I feel much more confident in designing and carrying out experiments and preparing research reports and am more aware of the connotations of the results and how they will be used,” says Borges. He also valued the program’s emphasis on the evolving nature of sensory science and the importance of staying current in the industry.
“This one-year program has been very remarkable for me.”