Masters Research Fellowship gives Cox experience in child-nutrition research

Public Health; Research; Students

Katie Cox, MPH candidate ’17, has been interested in child nutrition for years, and a new fellowship at the Brown School has given her a chance to see firsthand how research on the topic is done.

Cox was one of 35 students selected for the Brown School’s new Masters Research Fellowship programs.

The appointments are valued at approximately $5,000 per academic year through guaranteed part-time employment and coverage of the mandatory annual student health and wellness fee.

Originally from the St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood, Cox earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado-Boulder. She pursued development work, including grant writing, at a federally qualified health center, before setting her sights on the Brown School.

“I was really attracted to the Brown School because of the sense of community,” she said. “The faculty is really invested in the students.”

The fellowship offered the opportunity “to get a deep understanding of research, and to delve into a topic.”

Cox has been involved in a study in rural Haiti that is evaluating whether school snacks can improve the health of children, as well as research in Ecuador aimed at seeing whether daily egg consumption can help improve nutrition in poor children.

Cox said nutrition is “at the core of health, especially in young children.”

Cox is in the global health specialization of the MPH program, and so fellowship placement with Lora Iannotti, an assistant professor whose expertise is in child nutrition around the world, has been especially rewarding.

Cox has explored many aspects of the research process, including coding, literature reviews, manuscript development and applications to the Institutional Review Board.

“Dr. Iannotti is a great mentor,” she added. “It’s been great getting to learn the research process by working with her.”

Cox has since co-authored two publications, Iannotti noted, and has exhibited increasing leadership and research skills as she has progressed through the fellowship.

“I appreciate this program,” Iannotti said, in part because of the high caliber of fellows like Cox. “They’re the cream of the crop,” she said.