The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Estefania Marti Malvido

headshot of Estefania Marti Malvido
Research Analyst
Access to Nutrition Foundation

Degree & graduation year: MPPA, Food Science Policy specialization, 2018; Food Science, 2016

What I do: ATNI is an independent not-for-profit organization based in the Netherlands dedicated to assessing and improving the private sector's efforts to help address malnutrition. ATNI publishes global and country-specific “Spotlight” indexes to encourage businesses to increase access to health products and to responsibly exercise their influence. I have been working as a research analyst for two years, collecting and analyzing data, engaging with companies, and writing reports. 

How I ended up working there: A lot of desk research but also networking! Thanks to a colleague, I became aware of the specific website where they continuously post development-related jobs. Thanks to my mentor, Fergus Clydesdale, I was able to obtain experience from attending meetings at the UMass Food Science Policy Alliance, which sparked my interest in the role the private sector plays in nutrition and health.

The best part of my job: I get to connect with people working toward the same goals from different organizations. I am also lucky to have colleagues from many different countries!

A recent exciting work experience: For the recently published fourth edition of the Global Access to Nutrition Index, I worked primarily on gathering feedback from companies and calculating the scores for what we call the product profile assessment. ATNI rates the healthiness of companies’ product portfolios using the Health Star Rating. Companies use different systems or models to define healthy foods, and with this exercise, ATNI hopes to establish a global consensus so that different parties can use the information in a consistent way. We found only 31% of products sold by the world’s twenty-five largest food and beverage manufacturers could be considered healthy. The company ranking first on this metric was Danone. I am grateful to have collaborated with our research partner (the George Institute for Global Health) leading this project and excited to see the further impact these kind of accountability tools can have.

How the School of Public Policy prepared me for my career: I appreciated the flexibility of being able to take different courses (also offered by different schools or programs), which help me further explore what kind of career I wished to pursue. I learned how to be more collaborative when approaching systemic issues. SPP faculty are very committed and supportive. I recommend students be proactive and reach out to professors outside of the classroom to seek career support.

Advice to students considering a degree in public policy: In my opinion, it is best to pursue a degree in public policy if you have a specific field of interest. Look into job postings of careers you think you would be interested in after graduation and see what kinds of skills and courses would align best.

Future plans: Continue to work and grow in the field of private sector accountability in nutrition and food systems, hopefully with more links to public policy both at the national and global (regional) levels.