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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442
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Marissa Nichole Duswalt, 2009 Truman Scholar

Marissa Nichole Duswalt, a spring 2010 Plan II Honors and Dean’s Scholars graduate in Nutritional Science (Registered Dietitian) was awarded a 2009 Truman Scholar http://www.truman.gov/. The selection committee recognized her interest and leadership in the fields of childhood nutrition, behavioral and culinary science, and American food culture.  She's particularly interested in investigating ways to remedy the increasing rates of obesity in American children in a degree “that combines all of the concerns surrounding nutrition, which simultaneously involves cultural, global, economic, scientific and political issues."  Marissa plans to travel to Washington, D.C. as a Truman-Albright Fellow. She is looking into positions at the Department of Agriculture as well as the White House “Let’s Move” campaign against childhood obesity.  After working in public health policy for the yearlong fellowship, Marissa will return to graduate school to continue her education in public health.

Duswalt, a native of Rosenberg, Texas, was one of 60 Scholars selected from among 601 candidates nominated by 289 colleges and universities.  Each Truman Scholarship provides up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government.  Recipients are United States citizens, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, are in the top quarter of their class and are committed to careers in government or non-profits.  In return for the funding, Truman Scholars pledge to serve for three to seven years in the public service sector after receiving their graduate degrees.

Marissa’s Plan II/Dean’s Scholars Honors thesis, supervised by Dr. John Stephen Hursting, Chair of the Department of Nutritional Sciences, studied the relationships between nutrition, metabolism and disease prevention. Marissa investigated how differences in the saccharide ratio comprising the carbohydrate portion of the American diet lead to obesity and metabolic dysfunction.

Marissa is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a 2007 Temple Scholar, a Plan II Distinguished Graduate and a Presidential Scholar. She initiated a service-learning initiative to integrate civic engagement into the Plan II curriculum, and worked at the Health Promotion Resource Center as a Nutrition Educator.
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