Having been brought up by a nutrition-aware mother, I was always very conscious of the importance of good nutrition. My mother was an inspiration. She was passionate about nutrition and the foods we eat. She was instrumental in my desire to study nutrition. I don’t think as a child I knew exactly what I wanted to do later in life. But I always knew I wanted to marry a hard science which is closely linked to patients.
At school, I really enjoyed biology. I was fascinated to study human biology, physiology and immunology. I sat exams for both biology and chemistry and those were subjects were essential for my future studies in food and human nutrition. I studied Food and Human Nutrition at Newcastle University. I then went onto studying Clinical and Human Nutrition at the University College London. Indeed, during my University course, I took subjects such as microbiology, biochemistry, immunology and chemistry. I definitely recommend taking those subjects for any prospective students.
Since graduating, I have been working for the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), an international organization that was launched at the UN in 2002 to tackle the human suffering caused by malnutrition. GAIN mobilises public-private partnerships and provides financial and technical support to deliver nutritious foods to those people most at risk of malnutrition. I am responsible for several dedicated parallel food fortification projects, mainly in Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan.
In my role, I am closely involved in all programmatic functions and provide support to country projects on all on-going and future activities. This may be to support the organisation of conferences to raise awareness around the need for food fortification, liaise with partners on ongoing activities, contribute to drafting reports, sharing lessons learned and drafting other materials such as nutritional training manuals.
My experience of working in public health has been very rewarding. Through my work, I am able to reach large population groups, including the most vulnerable.
Overall I think there is a lack of information for prospective students about potential careers avenues within the food/nutrition sector. I think career fairs and other awareness raising events would help to guide students to the sector.
I would advise students to gain as much experience as possible within the sector through summer internships. This will help students to choose which career path they should chose and will also add invaluable experience to their CV in an ever-increasing competitive job market.
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