Why did you choose UW?
Both of my parents graduated from UW and because my mom went back to school when I was in middle school, I was able to see her experience here and how much she enjoyed the programs that were offered. I knew I wanted to pursue a nutrition major and UW did not offer this, so I almost did not attend. However, I chose UW because an in-state university was more financially feasible and I would be able to visit my family, which is very important to me. I decided I would look into a major in public health. I had confidence that whatever I was meant to study, I would encounter it here at UW.
What aspect of studying food systems interests you most?
My favorite part about studying the food system is that it is so intersectional. Through this major I have discovered a passion that extends beyond my original interest in nutrition and into issues of food access. I’m extremely curious about the barriers that prevent people from being able to access nutritious foods and how different populations are disproportionately affected by it. In addition, I’ve found myself drawn to exploring farm worker rights and the ethical treatment of food workers in general.
Have you adopted any new practices, inspired by what you’ve learned thus far?
Since entering this major I’ve been working on producing less waste by choosing to buy only what I know I can consume before it expires and working on purchasing less pre-packaged foods to reduce my plastic consumption. Additionally, I started shopping at farmers markets and look to buy organic goods or bulk goods as often as I can.
How do see your understanding of food systems being applied in your career or future goals?
In the future I see myself working to make nutritious foods economically accessible to lower-income communities. I have a passion for cooking and feeding people and would love to potentially integrate this into my career in the food system by having a soup kitchen or a restaurant where I can donate my leftovers or build my own program around food assistance. This way, I can assure the food was made with care and with ethically and sustainably sourced ingredients and will not contribute to food waste.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
Aside from food, I love learning new languages. I studied American Sign Language in middle school, French for 4 years in high school, and have been learning Spanish this past year and a half. I hope to also learn Arabic in the next couple years. If I don’t end up working in food systems post-grad, I imagine I will pursue a career in translating or teaching languages. I love the way that speaking another language gives us the ability to communicate with and learn from a whole new community of beautiful people and cultures across the world.
How would you describe your experience as a student in our program?
I would say that my entire time here as a student exploring public health and food systems, nutrition, and health has been full of luck and opportunities. I met my current roommates through a public health First-year Interest Group (FIG), which I consider a wonderful start to this journey. By choosing a very intersectional major, I have been able to really explore the specific issues that are important to me and have had the freedom to mold this program into something that can benefit me most.
What advice would you give a prospective student considering Food Systems as a major?
If food systems as a major interests you, I suggest you take NUTR 302 to understand what a food system is and how it affects our everyday life. I think for me this was the game changer. Once I understood the issues that were coming up from a flawed system and the way food has the ability to positively and negatively affect people beyond nutrition, I instantly became intrigued and knew that this was the major for me.