My fascination with food was ignited when I was very young, through childhood summers spent in India. I still vividly remember mornings peeling ruby pomegranates with my grandfather, lunches of hot kalva oysters with dry spice coats that burst the sweet-salty taste of sea into my mouth. And I remember the first time I was addressed by a street beggar, a young girl who called me didi (elder sister) and asked me for money for food.
This juxtaposition of feast and famine remained with me. As an entering college student I began public health service in Nicaragua and immediately noticed nutrition as a root cause of many of the health issues I observed. Where I did not expect to see nutrition was in neuroscience, the other focus of my undergraduate studies. Through courses on neurodevelopment and a project in my research lab supporting the effects of maternal diet on cognitive performance of offspring in rats, I began to see the connections between nutrition, neurodevelopment, and public health. On a second trip to Nicaragua I began a research study on barriers to childhood nutrition in the impoverished region of Rancho Grande and led a team to serve in a pediatric feeding center and agriculture school in the area. When through my work I becameclose with a girl with reduced cognitive ability due to severe early malnutrition, my interdisciplinary passion for public health nutrition was solidified.
Already studying neurodevelopment through a major in molecular neuroscience, I added minors in public health and international economic development. After I complete my undergraduate studies I will pursue a master’s in public health nutrition and an MD in pediatric neurology. I hope to reduce childhood malnutrition in the world through clinical and epidemiological research on the cognitive consequences of poor nutrition and research-informed consultation with international governmental and non-governmental organisations.