Below are the current student ambassadors for the Bachelor of Science in Public Health program in Nutrition. Feel free to contact one or two of these students to ask questions you may have about the application process, the program, or student life in the Gillings School of Global Public Health.
Avni is a senior from Cary, NC, majoring in Nutrition Health & Society, with a minor in Spanish for the Health Professions on the pre-med track. Her interest in nutrition developed through her passion for cooking from a young age and her experiences volunteering with local NC food banks throughout her childhood which gave her an awareness of food insecurity issues on the community level and its effects on health. At UNC, she became involved in the Carolina Hunger Initiative, leading nutrition education workshops for low-income members of the community, and serves as the Education and Outreach co-chair of the Culinary Medicine Club. Outside of nutrition, she is passionate about women’s health as a volunteer doula at the UNC hospital, and teaches music to local students through Musical Empowerment. After graduating, she hopes to pursue a career in medicine in which she can incorporate nutrition education practices in her work as a component of preventative care.
Tate Blackburn is a senior from Charlotte, NC majoring in Nutrition Science and Research and minoring in chemistry and Spanish for the Medical Professions. Tate’s interest in nutrition arose from his curiosity about the Blue Zones, regions of the world where people live the longest, and research on integrative medicine, “superfoods,” and eating for chronic disease prevention. In Carrboro, he interns with the nutrition counseling department of the University’s student-run free clinic to translate nutrition education materials into Spanish, as well as interpret during patient consultations with dietitians and appointment scheduling. Last year, he assisted to lead El Centro Hispano’s Salud Integral program, helping to educate local Spanish speakers on healthy eating habits for weight loss and tight budgets. Coming up this year, Tate will work with Dr. Wasser here at Gillings to study the nuanced dietary needs of nursing mothers of Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. After graduation, he will attend physician assistant school and hopefully work in a low-cost clinic, possibly one day exploring dermatology or gastroenterology. During his free time, Tate loves to try new foods, practice his handstand, run at Merritt’s Pasture, explore the Triangle, and relax with close friends.
Grace is a senior majoring in Nutrition of Public Health and minoring in chemistry and studio art. Originally from Shanghai, China, she moved to Cary, NC during her adolescent years. Her interest in nutrition was sparked by her discovery of its vital role in preventive health and the lack of sufficient nutrition education in medical school. She wishes to apply the knowledge she learned at Gillings when she becomes a doctor. Her passion extends to providing healthcare to underserved regions worldwide, offering nutritional education, delivering mental health support, and sharing her faith locally and abroad. Her experiences include working as an EMT, serving as a crisis text line counselor, teaching as TA, private tutoring, volunteering at UNC hospital, and conducting research at NRI. Grace is also a devoted Christian who actively serves in her campus ministry and local church. Her ultimate career goal is to become a missionary doctor, delivering holistic care, encompassing physical, emotional, and spiritual support to those in need across the globe. In her free time, Grace likes to play guitar, play basketball, read, and hang out with friends.
Ellie is a senior majoring in Nutrition Health & Society and minoring in Spanish for the Health Professions on the pre-PA track. Originally from Gothenburg, Sweden, she moved to Greensboro, North Carolina at a young age. As a student-athlete in high school, Ellie’s initial interest in nutrition and health evolved from a place of curiosity: how could food improve athletic performance? Her desire to learn more about food developed when she moved to Chapel Hill and began cooking all of her meals on her own. The summer after Ellie’s freshman year of college, she worked at a local farmer’s market located in a food desert in Greensboro and spent a couple weeks visiting several farmers markets along the west coast of Sweden. Understanding the difference in food culture, distribution, and security in the United States and in other countries is something Ellie is truly passionate about. In the future, she plans on becoming a PA who understands the impact that global health inequities have on individual patients. She particularly hopes to work in underprivileged communities that face challenges finding healthcare as a result of the language barrier. In her spare time, Ellie enjoys reading books, working out & cooking!
Cameron Mewborn is a Senior from Lillington, North Carolina majoring in Nutrition: Science and Research with a minor in chemistry. Cameron’s interest in nutrition goes back to her upbringing in rural Eastern North Carolina, where she had the privilege of watching her food come out of the ground and straight to the kitchen table. At UNC, Cameron has been able to dive deeper into nutrition and regional trends through her research with the Children’s Healthy Weight Research group, where she investigates how to implement nutrition best practices in childcare facilities in rural and urban environments. Outside of Gillings, Cameron is a Certified Nursing Assistant, volunteer at the UNC Cancer Hospital, and Narratives in Medicine Club leader. Cameron plans to continue studying nutritional public health trends in rural communities while also pursuing a career in rural medicine following her graduation. In her spare time, she can be found on a run, reading a good book, or cheering for the Heels in the Dean Dome!
Carolena is a junior from Cary, NC majoring in Nutrition, Health, and Society and minoring in Chemistry and Spanish for the Medical Professions. Growing up in an Italian family, food was always the center of many holidays and traditions, and she became interested in how food can be a large part of someone’s overall well-being. She also became interested in how our diet can transform our microbiome, which greatly impacts gastrointestinal health. Outside of Gillings, Carolena works as a medical scribe and home health aide. She is also involved in Spanish interpreting for SHAC, Phi Mu sorority, and Alpha Epsilon Delta. After graduation, Carolena plans to go to medical school to become a gastroenterologist. She hopes to use nutrition to alleviate symptoms of those with gastrointestinal conditions such as IBD. In her free time, she enjoys going on runs, traveling, and trying new restaurants!
Erin is a senior from West Chester, Pennsylvania, majoring in Nutrition, Health, and Society and double minoring in Entrepreneurship and Medical Anthropology. Erin’s primary interest in nutrition started through her first job at a health foods store, but she became truly passionate in high school, when a personal health journey opened her eyes to the many channels through which nutrition contributes to overall health and quality of life. At UNC, coursework in public health, nutrition, and medical anthropology have developed Erin’s interests in chronic disease prevention, food as medicine, social determinants of health, urban agriculture, and maternal and child health disparities. Erin is a volunteer doula at UNC Hospitals where she works to provide comprehensive care for mothers and advocate for their needs during labor and birth. This past summer, Erin was an undergraduate healthcare analyst for the United States Government Accountability Office, where she researched how U.S. health departments manage public health infrastructure funding and along with how the Department of Defense manages credentialing & privileging for clinicians in deployed settings. In her free time, Erin loves yoga, exploring Chapel Hill and Carrboro, attending live music shows, and cheering for the Tar Heels with friends
Emily Qiu is a senior from Cary, North Carolina, majoring in Nutrition Science & Research with minors in chemistry and music. Her many experiences as an endurance athlete in running, swimming, and rowing were very influential in teaching her the impact nutrition has on sport performance and general energy levels. Her experience as a D1 rower on UNC’s women’s rowing team especially gave her a passion for advocating nutrition education in athletes. She is particularly interested in studying nutritional biochemistry and the role of diet in disease prevention. She is about to start research with Dr. Martin Kohlmeier to explore the emerging field of precision nutrition. She has held internship positions with UNC Sports Nutrition and the UNC Children’s Healthy Weight Research Group. Outside of academics, Emily is still an avid runner. She also loves baking desserts and singing along to Taylor Swift. Currently, she is applying to graduate schools for nutritional sciences. Her future goal is becoming a licensed registered dietitian in a clinical setting to teach others how to incorporate a variety of nutritious foods to optimize energy in everyday life.
Corinne Walker is a Senior from Cary, NC, majoring in Nutrition Health and Society with a minor in chemistry and a certificate in Health Marketing and Communication from the Hussman Media and Journalism School. She spent the first five years of her life in the small town of Princeton, Indiana, where the nearest grocery store was 40 minutes away and all restaurants were fast-food chains. The juxtaposition between this type of environment and the more urban area of Cary she moved to later in life made her cognoscente of the vast disparities in regard to nutrition access even within the US, helping her develop an interest in public health. Beginning the fall of her sophomore year, she began working at the NIH’s BRAIN Initiative UNC Viral Vector Lab, where she helped create custom viral vectors to track neural pathways. She has since helped Weaver Street Market develop an incentive program for shoppers using SNAP to educate and reduce local food insecurity. She hopes to combine her passions of biotechnology and health equity to help reduce disparities for minorities.