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Ashlyn Anderson

Title of Program: Food Security and Public Health Nutrition

E-mail Address: aande115@vols.utk.edu

Hometown: Franklin, Tennessee

Year: Sophomore

Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2022

Description of Program: How will the global food system feed the projected world population of 10 million people in 2050 sustainably and with proper nutrition? How does one address the reality that 1 out of every 3 students on UT’s campus is classified as food insecure? These questions propelled me to develop a curriculum aimed at understanding the food system on a global and local scale, and specifically the way that food security and nutritional outcomes manifest within these systems. My program seeks to examine the intersections among the social, ecological, and political factors that influence food choices and health outcomes of human nutrition. I aim to critically study food system issues in various contexts including within international countries, local communities in Knoxville, and the food landscape on UT’s campus. This program will allow me systematically analyze food and nutrition from a wide range of disciplines to understand how systems of privilege and oppression intersect to influence the ways people access, afford, and consume food. In doing so, I aim to utilize public health nutrition as a framework to better serve communities and advocate for more equitable food systems. I also will continue studying Spanish language and culture through a minor in Hispanic Studies.

Departmental Emphases: Nutrition, Public Health, Sociology, Anthropology, Spanish

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Betsy Anderson Steeves and Dr. Justin Arft

Plans after graduation (career, graduate/professional school, etc.): My current plan after graduation is to pursue a variety of scholarships and fellowships, namely, the Fulbright. Through my continued education in Spanish, I plan to complete international programs abroad in a Spanish speaking country, then matriculate into a graduate program upon return to the United States. Such programs include coordinated degrees like an MPH/MS or MPH/RD that combine public health education with a nutrition foundation as a Registered Dietician. Later in my career, I plan to work for an organization or higher education research whose mission is to establish structures to ensure nutrition for all by promoting sustainable and equitable food systems.

Other Academic Interests: Spanish culture and literature, International agriculture and natural resources, Global development, and Art including drawing, painting and printmaking.

Study Abroad: I have traveled abroad to Guatemala in the spring of 2019 for a course focused on Food Insecurity and Natural Resource Issues. I then returned to Guatemala for a month to intern with a clinic and work on community development, maternal and child nutrition, and the construction of a garden to supply fresh produce to the local population. I plan to continue to travel abroad during my undergraduate career.

Research Experiences or Internships: I interned with Vanderbilt University’s Nutrition and Dietetics program to provide nutrition and agriculture education and activities for children at a summer camp. I currently work in research in Dr. Anderson Steeves’ HEALTHE Lab which focuses on public health nutrition and assessing food insecurity.

Part-time employment; Hobbies; Campus Clubs/Activities: Leading Cooking Club at Pond Gap Elementary School, Swipe Out Hunger, Smokey’s Pantry, Student Alumni Associates, exploring farmers markets, cooking new dishes, occasionally painting outdoors, and spending time with friends and family


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