Ms. Jessica Soldavini, is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. With a new fellowship providing $119,997 over two years, she will investigate strategies to address food insecurity and improve dietary quality among low-income populations.
Ms. Soldavini, who also is a graduate research assistant at UNC’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP), received the prestigious predoctoral fellowship from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. It will support her in completing her dissertation research and pursuing professional development opportunities related to nutrition research, education and policy.
Ms. Soldavini’s dissertation project focuses on a nutrition and cooking education program for children. Her research will investigate whether participating in the program results in children enjoying fruits and vegetables more, feeling more confident cooking and making healthy choices, and actually eating healthier and cooking more often.
“Children in the United States are not meeting Dietary Guidelines recommendations,” Ms. Soldavini said. “Over time, we have seen a decline in preparing and eating meals at home, as well as opportunities for children to learn how to cook. This is concerning, because cooking and eating home-cooked meals is associated with healthier eating patterns. This fellowship will provide support to address these important issues in the context of a nutrition and cooking education program for children.”Friday Letter Submission, Publish on October 18