CUrrent Trainees

Arizona State University

Baylor College of Medicine

Tulane University

The University of Alabama at Birmingham

University of California, Berkeley

University of California, Los Angeles


University of Minnesota

JUNIA N. de BRITO is a third-year Social/Behavioral Epidemiology doctoral student in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, at the University of Minnesota. She is a dietitian and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition & Dietetics from UniBH, Brazil. Junia also holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Bellevue University and a Master of Public Health Nutrition degree from the University of Minnesota. Her research interests include the evaluation of diet and disease relationships in epidemiologic studies, the synergy of nutrition and physical activity in the etiology and prevention of health problems, and family relationships and child feeding strategies for the prevention of childhood obesity. Junia currently works as a research assistant in several projects both within the Epidemiology and Community Health division, and the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health in the Medical School of the University of Minnesota. She has gained valuable experience in primary data collection, data management, and quantitative and qualitative data analysis. Junia is also a Maternal and Child Nutrition Leadership Trainee since 2016. Since then, she has attended to multiple professional development opportunities, received policy training on public health advocacy, completed her summer MPH field experience at Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Program’s Office at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and currently manages a research project in partnership with WIC MDH and a team of five graduate students. For the future, Junia sees herself engaged in teaching and researching ways to reduce health disparities related to nutrition and physical activity in racially/ethnically diverse populations.

LAUREN PRINGLE is a first year student in the Coordinated Master’s Program for a Public Health Nutrition focused MPH and dietetic internship at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. She graduated with a B.S. in Nutritional Sciences and a focus in Public Health Nutrition from Michigan State University. Before moving from Michigan, she worked as an undergraduate research assistant at Michigan State on a project to determine the effectiveness of the Smarter Lunchroom strategies in k-12 schools across Michigan and as a maternal and infant health intern with the Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services to aid in the planning of their Maternal Infant Health Summit and enhance their ambassador program. As an MCH trainee, she is involved with a research project studying positive deviance in child health and nutrition. In the future, she hopes to work in a rural or underserved community with adolescents and women of child bearing age to increase their health literacy and equity, food security, and self-efficacy.

NANCY JIANG is a first year MPH/RDN student in the Public Health Nutrition Coordinated Masters Program in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. She was born and raised in sunny Long Beach, California, and graduated from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a B.S. in Psychobiology. As a Maternal and Child Nutrition Leadership Trainee, she is currently working on a School Nutrition Project involving Bloomington Public Health Center to improve the food service programs in various Bloomington charter schools. Her future career aspirations include working in the field of school nutrition as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and starting a nutrition-based elective course in the curriculum or an afterschool program in at-risk schools for students to learn about healthy eating and nutrition. During her free time, she enjoys hiking, cooking and baking, watching reruns of Parks and Rec, and hanging out/arguing with her mischievous dog, Twiggy.

SOMADEE CHEAM is a second year MPH Nutrition student in the Coordinated Master’s Program at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities where she also received her undergraduate degree in nutrition and dietetics in 2018. Before the last year of her undergraduate studies, Somadee had the opportunity to work with the Girls and Boys Club of South Minneapolis where she began her work with MCH populations. During that summer she helped to create and implement a nutrition education intervention which had both gardening and classroom components. Currently, she continues her work in MCH by working with the Minnesota Department of Health on strategic planning for their priorities for the Title V MCH block activities. She is interested policy, environment and systems changes that promote local and sustainable food procurement by institutions to provide nutritious foods to those who need it and stimulate local food systems.

REBECCA NAAB is a 2nd year MPH Nutrition student in the Coordinated Master’s Program at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. She received a B.A. in Environmental Sustainability from Baldwin Wallace University in her hometown of Cleveland, OH in 2010. After finishing her undergraduate education, she spent time in rural Montana as a FoodCorps volunteer where she helped develop a Farm to School program at a local school district. Following her FoodCorps experience, Rebecca joined Teach for America and worked as a middle school educator in Detroit, MI. It was through both of these experiences she learned the importance of nutrition and health education for young children and adolescents as well as how hunger affects the learning and well-being of marginalized youth. As a trainee Rebecca has worked in conjunction with Bloomington Public Health to provide assistance and technical support at multiple charter schools in order to help advance and promote their school nutrition programs. Moving forward, she hopes to continue her work with schools to advance health education as well as cultivate a new ideas about how to innovate school nutrition programs that emphasize cultural food preferences, reduce food waste, and allow children to nourish their bodies intuitively.


University of Tennessee

Julianne Evans is graduate student pursing a Master of Science in Public Health Nutrition with a thesis. She graduated from the University of Dayton in May 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics, Food and Nutrition. Julianne has had the  opportunity as an undergraduate to participate in research focusing on cooking demonstrations and food insecure populations and her work with leadership programs on campus awarded her 2019 Ohio Outstanding Dietetic Student of Year and 2019 National Student Employee of the Year. Her experience with undergraduate research and as a summer nanny drew her to the MCH Nutrition Leadership Team because she wishes to gain more knowledge and experience on programs that influence people from diverse backgrounds, especially MCH populations. Julianne is passionate about working with medically under served children and sustainable food systems. As a trainee, she hopes to continue learning how to best support medically under served mothers and children.

Rachel Klenzman is a dual Master of Science in Public Health Nutrition and Master of Public Health student at the University of Tennessee. In May 2018, she received her undergraduate degree in Dietetics from Ashland University in Ashland, OH. Rachel’s experience as a research assistant in perinatal and behavioral health, and surgical outcomes at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio sparked her passion for the MCH population. Her graduate thesis work focuses on postpartum anxiety, breastfeeding self-efficacy, and breastfeeding outcomes. She has been a Maternal and Child Health Nutrition Leadership trainee since January 2019 and will be completing a dietetic internship through UT in 2021. Rachel hopes to use her education and training to improve health outcomes for mothers and infants.

Marissa McElrone has been a Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Nutrition Leadership Trainee since January 2016. She is a Nutritional Sciences doctoral student with a concentration in Community Nutrition. Originally from Easton, Pennsylvania Marissa served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania, East Africa after completing her Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences from Penn State University. She has worked with diverse, domestic and international MCH populations in research, programmatic, consulting, and capacity building contexts. Marissa’s dissertation research focuses on the impact of dietary acculturation on food security status and the use of community based interventions to address these issues with refugee and immigrant families. Marissa served on the MCHB Trainee Ambassador Group (TAG) from January-December 2018. Since matriculating into the MCH nutrition leadership traineeship, Marissa has received various accolades including: the Geraldine Piper Scholarship (2016-2017) and the Susan K. Stanton Human Ecology Scholarship (2017-2020) from the University of Tennessee, College of Education, Health and Human Sciences; the Yates Dissertation Fellowship (2019-2020) and the Oscar Roy Ashley Graduate School Fellowship (2017-2018) from the University of Tennessee, Graduate School; and the Tennessee Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Scholarship Graduate Student Award (2017-2018).

Veronica Rubio is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Public Health Nutrition. Her Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Sciences is also from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Veronica was involved with the ICAN Lab and the Cardiac Kids program as an undergraduate research assistant. Post-graduation, she went on to complete her dietetic internship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Veronica was awarded the Ann Goldberg Scholarship during her internship, and was an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation scholarship recipient for 2014-2015.  She then worked as a Registered Dietitian for the Women, Infants, and Children program in South Carolina for 2 years. Most recently, Veronica served the South Pacific island of American Samoa as a Clinical Dietitian. Her passion is working with culturally diverse and under served pediatric populations. As a MCH Nutrition trainee, Veronica hopes to continue to gain valuable knowledge and experience to address the nutritional needs of this population and help bridge health disparities that may exist.