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Headshot of GCPR student Emily Seiger. Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, PhD Student

My name is Emily Seiger and I’m a PhD student in the Department of Nutrition. My work is centered on adolescent autonomy and knowledge about food and health decisions. Scientific norms, power dynamics, imposed timelines and budgets, and lack of meaningful partnership often exclude adolescent and community knowledge in health intervention and research design. I use mixed-methods participatory research to center and value adolescent lived experience, ideas, and wisdom through all stages of the research and intervention or program design process. My dissertation project is in partnership with CFK Africa using mixed methods to understand how adolescent girls make diet-related decisions when faced with a variety of risks for malnutrition in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya. This project will involve a participatory member checking exercise with the adolescent girls and community-engaged design of an intervention to address all forms of malnutrition for adolescents. Additionally, for my practicum, I work in partnership with The Resiliency Collaborative and their high school youth interns who live and/or learn in Southeast Raleigh. The youth identified community concerns they were passionate about that they had the capacity to partner within their community to address. I partnered with youth to make use of their past semester learnings, personal and community resources, and an asset mapping activity, to identify community and personal passions around the areas of immigration/issues of documentation and wellbeing, BIPOC youth mental health and healing liberation, and BIPOC student voice and representation in K12 educational systems. I am using a layered community engagement strategy, partnering with youth to foster learning communities that amplify and bolster initiatives that youth identify as areas of concern/growth that better center their lived experiences. In my free time I love hiking with my dog Tubbs and playing volleyball!