9 Reasons to Attend Friedman’s 9th Annual Student Research Conference

by Matt Moore

The Future of Food and Nutrition Graduate Student Research Conference (SRC) takes place on Saturday, April 11. Students from Friedman and across the country will attend and present original research from a range of topics related to nutrition and food systems. Last year’s conference drew over 200 attendees from 30 institutions across the country. The Sprout presents nine reasons for Friedman students to attend.

1. Content

The conference has grown every year, and the planning committee received a record-breaking number of abstract proposals from schools across the country. The final agenda will include something for everyone: presentations are expected to cover a range of domestic- and international-focused topics such as agriculture, nutrition science, policy and programming, food security, climate change, food systems, and epidemiology.

2. Support Friedman

Students who attend will provide an audience for their classmates who are presenting, and it is a great way to discover what colleagues outside their own concentration have been working on. Furthermore, the conference is scheduled to coincide with the accepted student open house, so current Friedmanites will be able to answer questions and recruit for the new class.

3. Collaboration

Students from over 35 colleges and universities across the United States are expected to attend this year. Not only do they share common interests with Friedman students, but they will enrich discussions by bringing new and different ideas and perspectives to the table.

4. Angela TagtowAngela Tagtow, Executive Director, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion

The new Executive Director of the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (a position first held by Friedman’s own Eileen Kennedy) will present this year’s keynote: “Nutrition Policy at a Crossroads: Dietary Guidelines for Americans Application and Evolution.” Tagtow has a background in sustainable diets and has worked to promote social and environmental justice in the national food system. She founded the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition, the Iowa Food Systems Council, and the Iowa Food Access & Health Work Group. She is also a former Food & Society Policy Fellow at the Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy.

5. Expert Panel

In addition to the keynote, an expert panel titled “Sustainable Diets and the Implications for Dietary Guidance in the United States” will tackle the topic of sustainable diets. The panel will be moderated by Parke Wilde and will feature Dr. Miriam Nelson, member of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) and chair of the Food Sustainability and Safety Sub-Committee, and Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, Director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

6. Sustainable Diets

The topic of sustainable diets has been at the heart of the national food policy debate. It has caused a bit of controversy in Congress, and almost everyone in the nutrition field has an opinion on whether sustainable diets should be a factor in shaping the Dietary Guidelines. Most recently, the DGAC released its Scientific Report, and the sustainability consideration has been the center of attention. At the SRC, attendees will have a chance to jump in and discuss the issue with people actively working in the field.

7. Networking

Attendees will have a chance to meet with presenters, faculty, and students to engage and further discuss the topics of the day. There will be time for mingling throughout the conference during lunch and refreshment breaks. Then to cap off the event, there will be a post-conference networking reception at Trade, located a short walk from the Friedman Schools (540 Atlantic Avenue). Free food will be provided, of course.

8. Student-Run

The SRC is entirely planned and executed by Friedman students. Led by co-chairs Janeen Madan (FPAN ‘15) and Claire Anglim (NUTCOM ‘16), a group of 25 students has been working since last October to coordinate the conference. Nobody is better qualified to develop a program of content that will appeal to current graduate students than the colleagues they work with every day.

9. Cost

Any Tufts student can attend for just $15, which is grad-school-budget friendly and a bargain for a full-day event, including breakfast, snacks, lunch, and appetizers at the networking reception.

Anyone interested in attending can get more information and register at the SRC website. The final schedule will be released this month, and students can take advantage of early-bird registration until the week of the conference.

Matt Moore is a first-year AFE student who received a lot of help from Abbie Steiner and Janeen Madan in writing this piece. He looks forward to a Spring Break trip to his bed. 

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