Already a lecturer at the University of East Africa, Baraton, Hellen had a strong desire to come to the United States from her home country of Kenya to pursue a doctoral degree. With a long history in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Loma Linda University was her first choice. Upon receipt of a full scholarship from the School of Public Health, Hellen was able to realize her dream. She has just completed her doctoral program and is returning to Kenya better equipped to teach, engage in research and in community development work.
"Nutrition is the best department to do graduate work," Ndiku explains, "the teachers exposed me to new scientific nutritional knowledge and research and were willing to work with me to accomplish my goals. I also liked how the support staff was helpful to me as a student, aiding me to learn new skills that I had not developed fully due to lack of facilities in my home country."
Hellen had the opportunity to conduct field research in her home country during her graduate program at LLU. She conducted a survey in two regions of rural Kenya assessing feeding habits among children five years and younger. In addition to the malnutrition she expected to find, her analysis revealed a gender disparity in food intake, boys receiving more than girls. More information on her study is available in the Summer 2009 issue of Sphere.