Article by: Alissa Smethers PhD, RD, LDN
Happy New Year! I hope that everyone’s 2019 is off to a fantastic start. This month’s interview is with a senior nutrition student Emily Wallace from The Pennsylvania State University. Read below to learn more about Emily and the research she has been involved with during her undergraduate studies.
Where do you live currently? Is there anything you love about where you’re located?
I am currently living in State College, PA, and I am finishing up my senior year at Penn State. I love being a part of big university, but finding a tight knit group of friends inside and outside of class has really made Penn State feel like home.
Where are you from originally?
I am originally from Horsham, PA. Horsham is in Montgomery County and is about 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia.
I noticed you’re currently a senior at Penn State, what are you currently working on/researching?
I currently work in the Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior at Penn State. We are finishing up a big study in preschool children. This study will give a lot of insight about eating behaviors and satiety in young children.
What do you want to do after your studies are completed?
After graduating from Penn State in May, I hope to complete a dietetic internship; I am currently in the process of applying. I hope to complete an internship with a clinical focus, specifically with rotations in intensive care. I want my career to be focused on finding ways to help patients overcome diseases through diet and lifestyle. In the future, I hope to combine my clinical background with research. I think that new research is the best way to make change on a large scale and to help the most people.
How do you feel that your work in research has helped in application to real people?
The research we have completed in our lab has helped people and health care professionals understand more about childhood obesity and eating behaviors. The studies contribute to the questions of why children eat the way they do, how they regulate their intake and what factors influence their satiety. I think that exploring these questions will give insight into how we should be feeding our children to keep them healthy and happy. Understanding the relationship between children and food will help us make changes to prevent childhood obesity.
Why did you decide to focus on nutrition as a career?
I have always been interested in science and medicine. When I was searching for a major I was looking for something that would blend the two. I settled on nutrition because it is a topic that touches every person’s life. Food is a really personal subject for people, but there is a lot that is misunderstood. I think nutrition is the perfect bridge between medicine and people. Throughout my time at Penn State, I have learned more about how much of an impact that good (or bad) nutrition can really have on a person’s health. I love the idea that helping patients understand nutrition and healthy eating can profoundly impact their health and quality of life.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I am enjoying my senior year at Penn State; I can’t believe how fast it has gone. I love going to football games, going out to dinner and having movie nights with my roommates. We love trying new restaurants and experiencing new things together!