Student Spotlight: Jennifer Appiah
Jennifer is a 2022 recipient of the Freybe Award in Nutrition and Dietetics and is currently completing her first year as part of UBC’s Master of Nutrition and Dietetics’ first ever cohort.
How did you feel when you received this award?
I was elated and truly honoured to learn that I was selected as one of the recipients of this award, and I am deeply appreciative of the generosity and support of the donor.
How has this award made a difference to your education and life?
In being awarded with the Freybe Award in Nutrition and Dietetics, it has lightened my financial burden and allowed me to focus on my academic and career goals. The donor’s generosity is inspiring, and I hope to one day be able to help other students achieve their goals as I have been helped to achieve mine.
Why did you choose the Master in Dietetics program in LFS?
In the years after graduating from my undergraduate studies, I developed fibromyalgia – a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and tenderness throughout the body – which fundamentally transformed my academic priorities. In the pursuit of a remedy when there seemed to be none, I gained an affinity for the topics of nutrition and health, and subsequently decided to pursue studies within these disciplines. Thankfully the stars aligned in my favour, and I was accepted into UBC’s first cohort for the Master of Nutrition and Dietetics Program. The idea that my body was letting me down allowed me to gain new perspectives in nutrition and its role in preventing and treating illness, and I feel incredibly purposeful and grateful to be able to contribute to the development of knowledge and informed practice of nutrition and dietetics.
What has been the best part of your university experience and your student life in LFS and so far?
While my journey at UBC is ongoing, the experiences that I have gained and the relationships that I have cultivated to date have sustained my interests in food, nutrition, and health, as well as my desire to succeed in my graduate studies and eventual profession in the field of nutrition and dietetics.
Following graduation, I intend to empower and strengthen the role of nutrition and dietetics in healthcare, to contribute to the growing knowledge of the relationship between food and mental health, and to cultivate the growth and success of marginalized populations in higher education.
How are you involved outside of your academics at UBC?
This year, I volunteered with the AMS Food Bank. Amid a time of high inflation and rising costs of living, university students are turning to food banks at an unprecedented and concerning rate, and volunteering with the AMS Food Bank has been an impactful way to help address the very real and immediate needs that many UBC students have for emergency food supplies. It is not unknown that healthy eating improves mental health and improves academic performance, and the increasing prevalence of food insecurity is a threat to students’ health and success. As more and more students are needing support to feed themselves, I feel called to offer my services in any way possible to assist in addressing the growing issues of food and health insecurity among my UBC peers.
Where is your favourite place to eat/get a drink or snack?
The avocado toast at Loafe is so fresh and delicious – I often have it between classes with an almond milk chai latte!
And finally, what is your favourite place on campus to relax or study?
One of my favourite places on campus is the MacMillan Bloedel Atrium, in the Forest Sciences Centre. The natural light that comes through the skylight is beautiful, and there are big tables and couches on which to study (and take naps)! The greenery and woodwork on the walls remind me of the University of Northern British Columbia where I completed my undergraduate degree in psychology, so this building gives me an immense and wonderful sense of nostalgia.