All Roads Lead Through UMD

Robert PostENTERING UMD as a pre-pharmacy/pre-med major, Robert Post thought he was simply fulfilling an elective requirement for his bachelor’s degree when he signed up for Food Science 101. Instead, the course would end up defining his multi-disciplinary and high-impact career.

“I discovered that food science is my core,” Post said. “It opened my view that people will always have to eat. Science and technology would be changing food production, and it would be an exciting area to be in— both practical and creative at the same time.”

But food science was just a launching point. Working across food and public health, Post has held high-level positions in food research and development, directing federal nutrition policy, public health and wellness education, and food marketing programs.

His winding career path didn’t stray far from his AGNR roots, however, as his passion for learning and curiosity in multiple areas brought him back to College Park three more times for two Master’s degrees and a PhD.

With expertise in unique but targeted fields, Post was integral in creating the nation’s first standardized nutrition label, led the federal transition from the food pyramid guidelines to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) “My Plate” initiative for nutrition education and communication (earning him the 2012 USDA Secretary’s Honor Award), and pioneered company-wide health and wellness programs for the yogurt brand Chobani.

Post now owns Foodtrition Solutions, a consultant firm to help entrepreneurs and start-ups innovate and design food labeling, packaging, advertising, and support for claims and value-driven marketing. He also helps companies integrate health and wellness among their company operations. His career path and educational journey exemplify the advice he offers those just beginning in their own careers: “Pursue multiple disciplines to enhance interconnectivity, and avoid getting siloed in one area.”

“Use your core foundation, and find what you can weave together from diverse inputs,” he said. “Go for a multidisciplinary approach to broaden your horizon and expand opportunities.”

Living that advice and as a leader and advisor in the public and private food sector, Post has shown what can happen when you are open to letting an elective course shape your future.