In less than two and a half years at Case Western Reserve University, Fabiana Gabriela Irigoyen Jiménez has started a discussion group for international students to have a place to connect and is helping in the fight against food waste on campus, all while studying to become a registered dietitian and actively volunteering at the local Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.
Fabiana’s hometown is Cochabamba, Bolivia. She is currently majoring in human nutrition with minors in biology, public health and a Didactic Program in Dietetics concentration.
We recently asked Fabiana a few questions about her time so far at CWRU and what she hopes to accomplish in the future.
What prompted you to start a discussion group for international students?
“I started working at the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) in the spring of 2019 and after meeting with students, I realized there was a need for a student group focusing on international students, so we could support each other formally and not just as a group of friends. OMA provided me with the support I needed as an international student, as well as the tools such as Sustained Dialogue to continue supporting our CWRU community.”
How did you get involved in the fight against food waste?
“I also work as a Sustainability Ambassador through the Office for Energy & Sustainability. Food waste is a major concern in the U.S., and as a future dietitian it’s unthinkable for me to think that food is thrown away at all. The projects I’ve been involved in are educational shifts at the dining halls for composting food leftovers, and the "I Can't Believe it's Plant-Based" program, where my teammate and I meet with the chef at Leutner Commons Dining Room to plan a plant-based meal. We have planned menu items, such as mushrooms burgers and eggplant parmesan.”
What has surprised you most about life at CWRU?
“How we are growing in diversity among international students on campus and the support received by faculty and staff. I was amazed by how kind and helpful faculty and staff members can be. If a student needs help or is struggling, there will always be someone willing to help.”
What would you like to do after graduation?
“I would like to become a registered dietitian and continue with higher education to get my master’s degree. I’d like to apply the knowledge I’m learning and practice here in the United States. In the far future, I’d like to return back home, in Bolivia, to open my own practice office as a dietitian, or maybe travel around the world to continue gaining knowledge about food and culture. There is a whole new world out there that I would like to connect with nutrition and health. I want to help people see changes in food habits as something enjoyable and not as a burden.”