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### Exploring Public Health Interest Through a Semester Abroad

Eden Grimes, a senior studying global resource systems and French, had the opportunity to study at the University of Montreal and McGill University’s School of Human Nutrition during the spring semester as part of Iowa State’s National Student Exchange program.

With a blend of bravery and a love for the French language, Eden Grimes embarked on a semester-long student exchange adventure in Canada. Discovering Iowa State’s program at a study abroad fair, she realized that both her majors necessitated international study experiences, motivating her to explore the available opportunities.

Accepted into a rigorous four-month French language program at the University of Montreal in Quebec for the spring of 2023, Grimes sought to maximize her time abroad. She reached out to Gail Nonnecke, a Morrill Professor of horticulture and one of her connections in global resource systems, to inquire about internship possibilities in Quebec.

Through Nonnecke, Grimes was introduced to Grace Marquis, a former Iowa State faculty member and current associate professor at McGill University’s School of Human Nutrition in Quebec. Serendipitously, Marquis had an internship opening in her research team, which Grimes eagerly embraced.

Reflecting on her experience, Grimes acknowledged the role her networking skills from her global resource systems major played in approaching Dr. Nonnecke for internship opportunities.

During her time in Quebec, Grimes not only honed her French language skills but also delved into data analysis by collaborating with Marquis’ Women’s Empowerment through Nutrition research team. The team’s focus was on studying women in Ghana who were involved in food production, exploring how their ability to provide nutritious food impacted their well-being.

Impressed by the women leading the research project, Grimes fondly recalls her final meal with the team, where each member shared their motivations for joining. For Grimes, this experience sparked a newfound interest in pursuing a master’s degree in public health and a career in research.

Looking ahead to her post-graduation plans, Grimes aspires to work in French-speaking environments, aiming to make a difference starting at the local level. Her semester in Canada studying the language has instilled in her a desire to connect with marginalized communities who may feel isolated due to language barriers.