Niliarys Sifre-Acosta ‘23 was inspired to pursue a career in dietetics after witnessing her grandfather battle cancer. She saw firsthand how a dietitian looked after his health, adjusting his diet to meet his needs. “As an active and sport-loving teenager, I had always considered nutrition,” Niliarys said. “But seeing the clinical applications reiterated the importance of becoming a registered dietitian.”
Today, Niliarys is the latest Dietetics and Nutrition student at the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work at Florida International University to be awarded the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) Foundation’s Undergraduate Diversity Research Fellowship. The fellowship was created to promote diversity in the field of nutrition and provide direct funding for undergraduate research projects that show potential in making an impact in the field of nutrition.
“We are very proud of Niliarys and the accomplishments and contributions she’s made in her years at FIU,” said Dr. Fatma Huffman , interim chair of the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition . “She has a bright future ahead of her, and I look forward to seeing her continue to make an impact in our field.”
Niliarys credits her time spent with Dr. Cristina Palacios , associate professor at the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition, for the opportunities she has been given. “I will forever be grateful for the chance she gave 18-year-old Nili to explore nutrition research,” she said. Niliarys worked with Dr. Palacios on the Snackability project, which aims to help students make better decisions when they eat snacks. Her work was presented at ASN’s conference “Nutrition 2022 Live,” where she was awarded her fellowship.
As for what the future holds, Niliarys has set her sights on her next goal: her Ph.D. in Dietetics and Nutrition. “My heart is filled with joy and excitement for what is to come next year,” she said. ”During our last conversations, he [my grandfather] always encouraged me to dream big and serve my community; he was a living example of this, and I strive to do the same.”