Summer Enrichment Program alum pursues MPH in Nutritional Sciences

Natalie Reid

Natalie Reid, MPH ‘19

Natalie Reid graduated from the University of Michigan School of Public Health in 2019 with a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with a focus on dietetics. She came to Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in Comparative Human Development from the University of Chicago. Now, she is a Senior Research Analyst at Mathematica. 

We asked Natalie about her experiences at Michigan Public Health. Here are her responses.

Why did you choose the University of Michigan School of Public Health for a graduate degree?

I participated in the University of Michigan Summer Enrichment Program (UM-SEP) through the Health Management and Policy department during undergrad and learned a lot about the School of Public Health, its reputation, and the alumni. While I ultimately was more interested in nutrition than management, I fell in love with the University of Michigan and the School of Public Health! More specifically, the Michigan Public Health Nutritional Sciences department was the only one I applied to that had an explicit focus on eating disorders and weight bias, so it was clear to me that we were disrupting the academy in some really cool ways.

What organizations did you belong to while at U-M?

Public Health Students of African Descent and the Nutritional Sciences Student Association.

Did you hold a job while you were a graduate student at Michigan Public Health?

I worked a few different positions: as a graduate assistant at the Momentum Center, a research assistant at the Youth Policy Lab, and as a grader in the School of Nursing for their global public health course.

What was your first job out of graduate school?

Research Analyst at Mathematica

What is your current job?

Senior Research Analyst at Mathematica

What is your passion in nutrition and how did it change over time?

Initially, it was related to food security and eating disorders. During my time at the School of Public Health, it became a lot more about understanding how those two intersected, systemic weight bias, and applying a racial and ethnic lens. Through some of the policy courses I took, I was also really interested in SNAP as a social safety net program and what it would look like if we took a reparations-based approach to that benefit. 

Now, as a research analyst, I work more broadly in human services, which includes nutrition policies and programs (like farm to school and SNAP) in addition to things like early education and health equity. Ultimately, I am interested in understanding how children and families navigate this world (starting at preconception) and what types of programs and policies (nutrition, child care, employment, etc.) are most effective in supporting them to thrive.