Name: Christina Gonzalez
Major: Food Systems, Nutrition, and Health
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a mom of three and I spent 15 years in the health and fitness industry as a certified personal trainer. I wanted to pursue a degree through UW’s School of Public health to make a larger positive impact in my community. As a young mom, I struggled with food insecurity and have always been interested in nutrition and how inequitable access to food affects health. Finding the Food Systems, Nutrition, and Health (FSNH) program aligned with my personal and professional goals.
Why did you choose to pursue global health courses/a minor in Global Health?
A good friend and peer of mine in the FSNH program suggested I take GH 101 as she saw how passionate I was not only about the US food system, but how the US food system affects and is affected by the global food system.
How did the global health course(s) complement your core major studies?
GH 101 complements my core major studies by highlighting the ways that the US food system relies on the global food system; often exploiting and negatively affecting developing countries. The US interferes with local food systems in developing countries, ultimately creating reliance on the US for food. This reliance not only creates food insecurity, but it also increases diet related diseases in developing countries.
What has been the most valuable about your Global Health coursework/learning thus far?
The most valuable learning experience I had during GH 101, aside from learning about the global food system, was the plight of the migrant population from Central America. I learned how the US’s involvement in many aspects of Central American government and trade, was a catalyst for economic downfalls and forced mass migration of people fleeing economic instability, gang violence, gender-based violence, and the climate crisis.
What are your professional goals?
I am currently working as a free-lance grant writer for a nonprofit based in Mexico City that supports the forcibly returned and deported community in Mexico. Their support includes access to food, health care, documentation, and visas. I want to continue to work in the nonprofit sector by helping community based, grassroots movements make systemic change in community health.
Please share your recommendation for prospective and/or current undergraduate students on ways in which they may maximize their experience in Global Health.
GH 101 had such a huge impact on me that I think it should be part of every major’s core studies. Any student would be outraged and moved to create meaningful change after taking this course. Go to office hours, discuss your passions and outrage with your professors! I have made a great connection with Professor Todd Faubion and continue to talk with him about my professional life and how GH affected my career path.