1. Keeping chocolate alive from another planet! Matt Rebro, Joy Dodson 26:24

In this episode of “A Real Piece of Work,” hosts Matt and Joy sit down with Ashley DuVal, a Senior Scientist at Mars Wrigley, to delve into her fascinating career in developing resilient and productive cocoa plants. The hosts express their enthusiasm to learn about DuVal’s role in breeding, integrated pest management, and farming practices that support cocoa farmers and ensure a sustainable cocoa supply. DuVal sheds light on the challenges that cocoa faces, such as pests, diseases, and climate change.DuVal takes the audience on a journey through her educational background in botany and plant sciences, revealing how her interest in crop breeding developed. She shares that she pursued a PhD in cocoa genetics after Mars Wrigley successfully sequenced the cocoa genome. When questioned about her daily routine, DuVal describes the various facilities her team utilizes, including greenhouses, labs, and field trials, to study cocoa plants and gather crucial data. She emphasizes the importance of global collaboration in deploying research findings.The conversation also touches upon career opportunities and compensation at Mars Wrigley for individuals interested in scientific pursuits. The hosts couldn’t resist asking about any free chocolate perks, which DuVal addresses with good humor. For students contemplating a career shift, DuVal wholeheartedly encourages following one’s passions, as careers often take unexpected turns. She imparts valuable advice to her younger self, emphasizing…

Keeping chocolate alive from another planet!
WVIK, Quad Cities NPR, provides news and classical music 24-hours-a-day to the Quad Cities and surrounding community in northwestern Illinois and eastern Iowa. WVIK is a public service of Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. Our signal is broadcast at 90.3 FM in the Quad Cities area, at 95.9 FM in Dubuque, Iowa (including a small part of southwestern Wisconsin), and around the globe at WVIK.org.