Dr. Anderson is an associate professor in the Department of Foods and Nutrition. His research focuses on the nutrition of women and infants, infant and young child feeding, breastfeeding promotion and protection, growth of infants and children, and body composition of infants, children and pregnant women, as well as community and international interventions for nutrition and health. Dr. Anderson also leads the popular Service-Learning program to Ghana study abroad program each year. He answers questions below about his background and career so far at UGA.
Where did you earn your degrees and what are your current responsibilities at UGA?
I earned a B.Sc. in Nutrition & Food Science and MPhil in Human Nutrition from the University of Ghana, and earned my MPH in Epidemiology and Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Connecticut. I am currently an associate professor in the Department of Foods and Nutrition in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, and an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the College of Public Health. I also direct a summer service learning program to Ghana.
When did you come to UGA and what brought you here?
I came to UGA in 2005 as an assistant professor – my first professional job right after my doctoral degree.
What are your favorite courses to teach and why?
Coming from a public health background, I enjoy teaching courses that focus on disease prevention and improving overall wellbeing. I am delighted when I hear from students that they applied something we learned or discussed in class to a real life situation.
What interests you about your field?
The field of nutrition is a multidisciplinary field that encompasses sociology, anthropology, kinesiology, psychology, the sciences, and public health. Most importantly, this is a very dynamic field that constantly changes our understanding of how the various nutrients work independently and interactively to impact the human health and wellbeing. Another area of interest in this field is the various food cultures of different groups and how these cultures meet their basic nutrient needs.
What are some highlights of your career?
One of the highlights of my career at UGA is being tenured and promoted to associate professor. Interacting with students both in and out the classroom and in research settings is a highpoint. Another highpoint in my career is having students who’ve participated in the Ghana Summer Service-Learning program send me an email message or phone call about how their experience in Ghana has impacted their personal life, the way they perceive the world, and most importantly their career path.
How does your research or scholarship inspire your teaching, and vice versa?
My research inspires my teaching through sharing findings from my work and that of other researchers in the area with students. This brings the material being covered to life and gets the attention of students. Another important approach to my teaching is to present the material in a way that students are able to relate to and apply to real life situations.
What do you hope students gain from their classroom experience with you?
My teaching philosophy is to impact a lifelong and everyday knowledge to students in my classes so that it can shape their life, community and the world in general.
Describe your ideal student.
My ideal student is one who comes to class very prepared and ready to engage and contribute to class discussions, and one who is not afraid to share his or her opinion about a subject matter.
What do you like to do beyond the UGA campus?
I enjoy spending time with students in deprived communities in Ghana, providing free nutrition and health screenings to residents of these communities. But the most important thing I like to do beyond the UGA campus is to be a father to my two (2) sons.
What does your community/civic involvement include?
My inolvement includes leading and directing the UGA Ghana Summer Service-Learning Program to provide the much needed nutrition and health screening and education/counseling to members of deprived communities. I also work with volunteers at the Athens Pregnancy Center to provide nutrition and breastfeeding education to pregnant women.
What is your favorite book/movie?
I wouldn’t say I like to read as my older son always makes fun of me and compares my reading skills to that of my wife who is an avid reader, but my all-time favorite book is the Bible. My favorite movie though is TAKEN and the TV series ‘24’ and House of Cards.
What is your proudest moment at UGA?
My proudest moments at UGA occur whenever I hear that one of my students receives an award, either for their academic acheivement or success in research.