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Graduate Spotlight: Monica Kiwewesi

Traveling 8,416 miles to attend Texas Tech University was by no means an easy decision.

Monica Kiwewesi, a recent food science graduate of Texas Tech University from Uganda, said making the decision to come to Texas Tech was well-considered.

“Texas Tech University has an impressive reputation for producing professionals with relevant and appropriate skills in animal and food sciences,” Kiwewesi said, “and I am very proud to be included in this list of high achievers.”

Kiwewesi said thatgrowing up in a developing country and seeing the less fortunate endure poverty and live in poor conditions, as well as young children suffer from Kwashiorkor, she was inspired to make a difference.

“Observing these conditions where food and public health were being compromised was too distressing,”Kiwewesi said.“This challenged and encouraged me to strive to make a contribution to ameliorating these conditions.”

With the desire and empathy to help the disadvantaged embedded in her family,Kiwewesi said herdad is a humanitarian worker, her mom has an affinity for the vulnerable and her sister is a doctor. The desire to help the misfortunate was accelerated by her family’s desire to help others.

Through volunteer work with international organizations like Uganda Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity Uganda,Kiwewesisaid she has been afforded powerful insights on how she can help the needy on a global level. 

Kiwewesi said she is currently an eHealth intern for standardization and interoperability in Geneva, Switzerland, with the World Health Organization. She said she servesas a member of the core team to the Department of Knowledge Management and sharing under the Innovation, Information, Evidence and Research Cluster. 

“I’m greatly indebted to my professors who introduced me to the world of research. Classes like food chemistry and food analysis trained me how write 60-page papers,”Kiwewesi said, “I’m so grateful for this.” 

Since she spends most of her day at work doing research,Kiwewesisaid she is amazed to see the extent of information that exists. She said she does not understand why many people do not take the initiative to learn as much as possible. Knowledge is key in helping other people.

Despite having no previous working experience in standardization and interoperability,Kiwewesi said shefinds it immensely interesting and informative. She said this internship is expanding her knowledge of health data standards, electronic health records, patient safety and public health.

Kiwewesisaid she is grateful of her supervisor, who has been instructive by navigating her through the ABCs of standardization and interoperability.

“I have been exposed and learned so much about public health and will use my time here to learn more,”Kiwewesi said, “Because enthusiasm for public health is growing among the national, regional and local sectors around the world.”

With huge aspirations in mind,Kiwewesisaid her long-term goal is to help strengthen various countries’ Public Health and Food Safety Standard programs worldwide to assure a safer environment for generations to come.

“It is my conviction that the attainment of my goal will contribute positively and support the development of my home country and people worldwide,”Kiwewesi said.“This will improve the population’s health and eating habits, and raise the level of awareness on how to live a more healthy life with the readily available resources.”

Story by Faith Jurek