Alumna Dr. Sylvia Angubua Baluka Returns to MSU

By: 
Kristie Denbrock

During the 2009 Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics Conference in Durban, South Africa, Sylvia Angubua Baluka, BVM, PhD, first learned of the Online Master of Science in Food Safety at Michigan State University. Since graduating from the program she has published six research papers, been awarded $260,000 in research grants, and received a promotion to Head Food Safety Division, Department of Biosecurity, Ecosystems & Veterinary Public Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources & Biosecurity (COVAB), Makerere University, Uganda.

This fall Sylvia returned to MSU along with five colleagues from various African universities in a faculty exchange funded by the USDA. Their mission is to increase capacity building and to research learning methods that would be useful to take back to Uganda.

Sylvia credits former MSFS Director Dr. Julie Funk for her coming to MSU, “She explained to me what the program was all about and gave me a brochure…I decided that this was the kind of program that I had been desiring but could not find it within reach.”  Due to lack of funding, Sylvia was unable to begin her MSU education until 2011. “At the start I only had funds to enroll in one course and was uncertain as to whether I would get funds to take more courses. But after appreciating the quality and the way the first course was delivered, I decided that it was a worthwhile investment and decided to make all the sacrifices to pay for the remaining courses,” she said. Sylvia did continue her studies in the program and earned her Master of Science in Food Safety from MSU in the Fall Semester of 2013.

“It was a victory for my whole family when I completed the degree, my whole family (Peter Angubua, David Praise Angubua, Jonathan Divine Angubua & Joshua Victor Angubua) attended physically in the commencement center [Breslin Center, MSU]. It was such a joy and I was so thrilled to see my dream come to pass,” Sylvia said. Her applied project, “Hygiene practices and food contamination in managed food service facilities in Uganda” has been published in the African Journal of Food Science.

Currently teaching food microbiology, food safety, public health, preventive medicine, epidemiology, and conducting research, Sylvia says, “I would like to serve my country Uganda by teaching and supervising student applied research projects in the area of food safety, offering my expertise in food safety at various levels, and participate in establishing a food safety institute that will serve Uganda, Eastern Africa and the rest of Africa. This will enable us to build a critical mass of food safety expertise to improve the safety and quality of our African food products for the local consumers and for export to the developed countries like USA which is not possible today.”

“At the start I only had funds to enroll in one course and was uncertain as to whether I would get funds to take more courses. But after appreciating the quality and the way the first course was delivered, I decided that it was a worthwhile investment and decided to make all the sacrifices to pay for the remaining courses."

– Sylvia Baluka, BVM, PhD
  
  • Makerere University, Uganda
  • MSFS 2013 Graduate