Alumnus testimonial

Mariana García Medina – PhD at Wageningen University

MDR is a programme that opens the door to the social sciences for students who don’t have a background in the social sciences. Mariana studied Gastronomy as her bachelor in Mexico where she gained insights on diverse food cultures around the world, food chemistry, sensorial analysis of food, ecology and agriculture. After graduation, she looked into rural development and performed two internships in this field.

All the ideas that you get presented within MDR make you question reality

During her MSc, Mariana completed her thesis with the Sociology of Development and Change group. Her research approached new materialism and posthumanism, where she explored the effects among humans and non-humans and the entanglements derived from the commoditization of  Mezcal, a Mexican traditional spirit. Her internship brought her to Romania where she collaborated with Ecoruralis a peasant organization which is part of La Via Campesina. “All the ideas that you get presented within MDR make you question reality”, she says. “And then, you start to rethink and re-evaluate your own beliefs.”

After graduating from MDR in 2018, Mariana returned to her home country Mexico and started working as a research assistant at CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre). She worked in the market and value chains research team within the Socioeconomic Programme. Her role focused on exploring blue maize consumption and in understanding how the maize seed sector is composed in Mexico. Her experiences as an MDR student endowed her with the appropriate education and expertise to excel in her field. “I learned to be an interdisciplinary professional. When we sat down at the table with multiple stakeholders and/or other scientists such as breeders or gender specialists, I was not only a spectator, I was part of the discussion. It is great to be able to relate to diverse viewpoints and actors.”

According to Mariana, everyone is suitable for the MDR programme if they like to question the status quo. Students come from diverse backgrounds and all over the world which enriches the study and the opportunities to learn from each other.

Mariana recently started her PhD position at the Knowledge, Technology & Innovation/Sociology of Development chairgroup at Wageningen University. There, she focuses on maize seed systems.

Back to Future Career