Member Spotlight: Meet Selina Wang

Member Spotlight is a regular INFORM magazine column that features members who play critical roles in AOCS.

Selina Wang with her children (left to right) Linden, 1, and Tilden, 5, in Berkeley, California, USA.
Selina Wang with her children (left to right) Linden, 1, and Tilden, 5, in Berkeley, California, USA.
Fast Facts
Name Selina Wang
Joined AOCS 2010
Education Ph.D. (2008); University of California, Davis
Job title Cooperative Extension Specialist, Department of Food Science and Technology; Research Director, Olive Center
Employer University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources (Davis, California, USA)
Current AOCS involvement Session chair, AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo; chair of role AOCS Avocado Oil Expert Panel; member, AOCS Smouse Award, Dutton Award, and Student Award Selection Committees


What’s a typical day like for you?

Every day is different, but they almost always consist of lots of meetings with collaborators, industry stakeholders, commodity group representatives, university colleagues, and students. Otherwise, I work on answering questions about food quality and authenticity from industry professionals and consumers, preparing educational/extension materials, developing research plans and analyzing results, and helping the students and researchers in my lab.

My favorite part of my job is…

Doing applied research to solve timely problems. Being an extension specialist allows me to work closely with industry professionals and share knowledge.

Why did you decide to do the work you are doing now?

I was a postdoctoral researcher at the UC Davis Olive Center, where I discovered the joy of doing research and extension to help an industry have sustainable growth. My current work allows me to do what I was doing with olives and olive oil while expanding to cover all the crops that are important in California. It’s challenging and rewarding.

Is there an achievement or contribution you are most proud of? Why?

I moved by myself to the United States from Taiwan on the day I graduated from high school. I worked multiple jobs while completing my college education as a full-time student. There were many times I wondered how I was going to pay the rent, how I was going to find time to study, how I was going to figure everything out in a foreign country, but I stayed the course. I’m proud of my grittiness.

What event, person, or life experience has had the most influ- ence on the direction of your life?

Like many people, I’ve found that having children changes how I want to live my life and how I view the world. The African philosophy of ubuntu, loosely translated as “I am because we are,” resonates with me. Through my learning as a parent, I value community, connection, and humanity in a deeper way than I did before.



What skill would you like to master?

I would like to master having fun. After decades of working very hard to establish a career and a family, I seem to have forgotten how to have fun and enjoy fun for what it is without feeling the pressure of being productive.

What are some small things that make your day better?

I have had a daily practice of meditation and yoga for the past decade. I still struggle with being present, but these practices help me focus on each moment of each day, which makes the day better.

Back to Member News