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Talyia Fordham

MS Nutritional Sciences

Talyia FordhamTalyia Fordham was born and raised in Utah and spent two years studying exercise science at Southern Utah University. After completing her associate’s degree in 2016, Talyia transferred to the University of Missouri to finish out her bachelor’s degree in nutritional sciences with an emphasis on nutrition and fitness. Following graduation in May of 2019, she took a lab technician position in Dr. Parks’ lab where she gained exposure to clinical research and began to develop her essential laboratory skills. Her time in the lab inspired her to apply for a master’s degree and in the fall of 2020, she transitioned from being a lab technician to being a full-time graduate student in Dr. Parks’ lab. Her research interests include the immune system’s role in the progression of metabolically driven diseases, the integrative nature of hormones and their influence on metabolic diseases, and how lifestyle choices influence the prevention or regression of various diseases, such as NAFLD.

Why did you choose Mizzou?

I chose Mizzou because of the top tier, high-quality research being done all across campus, and especially in the NEP department. I chose Mizzou for the great reputation it has, the professors who are leaders in their field, the atmosphere of the NEP department, and because I knew that Mizzou would open doors for my future success.

What is your thesis/dissertation about?

This is still undecided.

Why did you choose the field you chose?

Nutrition is a key piece to health and is a cornerstone for treating and preventing numerous diseases. My goal has always been to treat the person and not the disease and improving lifestyles is just one of the ways to do that.

Have your career goals changed?

My early career goals were to be an orthopedic surgeon, however, as I’ve gone through my undergraduate courses in the NEP department at Mizzou my goals shifted to focus on helping people better their lives and finding long-term, sustainable changes that improve quality of life and reduce potential disease outcomes. Working for Dr. Parks’ for a year after graduating from my bachelor’s program inspired my love for the scientific process and my interest in pursuing clinical research. As such, my future career goal is to work in primary care, likely pediatrics, as a physician-scientist.

Where do you plan to go upon graduation?

My plan is to apply for different PhD-MD programs to continue my education.

What did you like about Mizzou?

I love the campus, it was what first attracted me to Mizzou – it’s absolutely beautiful! I love the emphasis on academics and research while providing students plenty of opportunities to join extracurriculars and partake in the campus environment. The campus has such a beautiful diversity and a breadth of different experiences that all come together under the umbrella of being a Mizzou Tiger.

My mentor is Dr. Elizabeth Parks.