About Me

Born and raised in Upstate New York, I have set out to experience as much of the sights, smells, and feelings that might be possible in this life, while along the way trying to make it that much better a place for those who still lack the opportunity to provide healthy and nourishing diets to their families and themselves. I am currently a PhD Candidate in International Nutrition at Cornell University, studying how the humble orange sweet potato could alleviate the huge burden of vitamin A deficiency that claims the lives of up 300,000 children a year in India.

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A basket of freshly harvested orange and red sweet potatoes in Uttar Pradesh, India

I’ve always had a keen interest in how food is the common denominator for us all, and it was during my time studying Food Science at the University of Nebraska that I was pulled to ensure that I would use my passion to help those most in need. I applied for and was accepted to a Dept. of State Boren Scholarship for Critical Language Learning, where I travelled to Tanzania for nine months to learn Swahili. My friend Becky and I, seeing the tremendous need for quality science education in elementary school, set about establishing a non-profit summer science camp (https://www.theotainitiative.org/) that still today provides young children the opportunity to explore, question, and understand the world around them in ways we take for granted.

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A child in Kayanga, Tanzania, plays with a windmill, created in a lesson to understand the physical properties of air

Having learned I know nothing, I then enrolled in a Master’s degree in International Development at Cornell University, where I quickly became involved in the newly-formed Tata-Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition (TCI: https://tci.cornell.edu/). As part of their inaugural team of interns, I travelled to ICRISAT in Hyderabad, where I learned survey methods for dietary diversity, and the challenges that rural Indians face in food and nutrition security.

It is through TCI that I am now pursuing my PhD research. I hope to eventually work for a large NGO or government organization that supports research, policy, and interventions that will directly impact that lives of mothers, children, and families living in poverty and food security, both domestically and abroad. How can we live in a world where children cry for hunger, when we know there is enough food for everyone?

If you would like to speak more with me about my expereince, goals, or current work, please reach out using the “Contact Me” link here or in the top menu bar. I would love to hear from you!

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