Degree: Ph.D. in Dietetics and Nutrition
College/School: Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work
When Praew Chantarasinlapin arrived in Miami from her native Thailand to start her journey at FIU, it was her first time speaking English to native English speakers. She came for a deep-dive into dietetics and nutrition. Praew flourished in the school’s multicultural environment. She pursued an ambitious timeline to get her master’s and her Ph.D.—both within six years—and the 30-year-old is now poised to return home with knowledge her country desperately needs. In Thailand, the field of dietetics and nutrition is still in its fledgling state and there are only a few registered dieticians there.
During Praew’s sophomore year of college, Thailand’s health crisis wreaked havoc on her life. Her father suffered a stroke, and his health issues inspired Praew’s focus on cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. This led her to Stempel College as part of an inaugural program through which students from Thailand prepare to be researchers and professors in their home country.
Praew immersed herself in cutting-edge research with the guidance of her mentor, Fatma Huffman, chair of the dietetics and nutrition department. Huffman’s research and interdisciplinary training informed Praew’s holistic approach to wellness that emphasizes the need for culturally sensitive interventions in high-risk populations.
After graduation, Praew will return to Thailand to teach undergraduate students at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok—the school that sponsored her time at FIU.