Monica Mutinda is a rising second year student in the Food and Nutrition Policy and Programs track at the Friedman School. She identifies as a Kenyan American, ethnic to the Kamba tribe of Kenya. In her words, she describes her path and her experience joining the Friedman School.
I have a bachelor's degree in Food Science and Technology, and before joining the Friedman School, I worked in the Food Manufacturing Industry as a Food Quality Control Associate. For several years I had been interested in crossing over into Food and Nutrition Policy, and was fortunate to make the switch in 2021.
Having grown up in a rural part of Kenya, I reflected over the years on how to improve school feeding programs and modify local nutritional policies to align with the cultural context of the community. Food quality control alone was not enough. I yearned to be part of a bigger solution to improve the nutritional status of the people—that's when I came across the Food and Nutrition Policy and Programs track at the Friedman School. I aim to work on Global Nutrition Policy in an International Development capacity to bring about change back home, and hopefully in other countries across the African continent.
Currently, I'm working as a Summer Research Intern at the Tufts Institute of Global Obesity and Research (TIGOR). Obesity, the growing silent pandemic across all countries, is not just secluded to the wealthy nations. Irrespective of the wealth status of a country, obesity is common in every country, and there is currently no one solution to solve it. At TIGOR, I'm taking part in research work, and will hopefully get to learn how research work shapes and informs policy initiatives across communities.
Outside of school and work, I enjoy going on evening strolls. Walking has been proven through extensive research to have physiological and psychological effects. An interesting fact— the Kamba people of Kenya were long-distance traders, hunters and gatherers- they walked everywhere, hence the local tease in Kenya; if a Kamba tells you "no vaa", which translates to, "it is close by, you could walk", don't buy it! You will be walking....