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Frannie Wilkinson

MS Nutritional ScienceFrannie WilkinsonFrannie Wilkinson grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and rediscovered her love for the Midwest after completing a BS in biochemistry in a small school in Florida. Having an admiration for applied sciences led her to take an interest in nutrition. That combined with the homesickness after finding out the “Florida man” trope is alive and well compelled her to move back to the “flyover states” to continue her education, this time in nutritional sciences. Her research interests revolve around how nutrition affects gestation, and more specifically the placenta. This broad but widely open field allows her to dabble in many different aspects of how micronutrients affect placenta and the overall pregnancy.

Why did you choose Mizzou?

I chose Mizzou not only for being closer to my family but also for the large pool of opportunities available. From the state-of-the-art facilities to the dedicated faculty, I knew Mizzou was the right fit. I’ve had family go to Mizzou as well, so I was familiar with it and knew I would get all of the support I needed.

What is your thesis/dissertation about?

My thesis revolves around how vitamin D affects placental health. This has taken shape as exploring how vitamin D can affect the villus diameter of the placenta- ultimately, to support nutrient transport. Healthier mommas lead to healthier placentas and healthier babies!

Why did you choose the field you chose?

I always had a love for science but wasn’t sure where it would take me. My exposure to biochemistry in my undergrad guided me to something that could be both bench-work, clinical and very applied. Nutrition fit all of these guidelines. I like how you can get down to the nitty-gritty mechanisms or zoom all the way out to people in their everyday lives.

Have your career goals changed?

I’ve always been someone who only had vague ideas of what I wanted to do. All of them have revolved around sciences, and more lately nutritional sciences. Not being committed to one specific career goal has ultimately been a positive in my life since it makes me more open to anything that interests me and gives me that flexibility to explore. Working along with my mentors have given me ideas of where I could go and resources available.

Where do you plan to go upon graduation?

I’m hoping to move out of Missouri after graduation and find a job in industry for a year or two. As for what or where that is, is still up in the air for me. I am confident that I will be prepared with the training I have received at Mizzou.

What did you like about Mizzou?

I like that my department is small, it brings a sense of community to a large school. I like being in a college town – I find it fun and affordable.

Who was your mentor?

Dr. Catherine Peterson is my mentor. It was nice to be able to come in and be mentored by someone with so much experience and passion in the field.