Fulbright Scholar Ila Jones graduates in May
She’s an aspiring community nutritionist, pediatric health advocate, and soon-to-be graduate of the USF College of Public Health.
She’s Fulbright Scholar, Ila Jones.
In 2011, Ila earned a Fulbright UK Scholarship to study at the Summer Institute in Wales.
“I loved interacting with the locals, the lush green scenery, and visiting historical places like their renowned castles,” said Jones.
As a part of the experience, Jones and seven other undergraduates visited three universities and several historical sites. “By interacting with the locals, I was able to understand the national health service more than before,” said Jones. “On average, UK citizens were pleased with their access to healthcare; however, they envied our [US] speed and availability to treat specific health conditions.”
Back in the States, Ila immerses herself in public health. She regularly volunteers with the USF Health Service Corps, often seeking opportunities to engage with youth on issues of fitness and nutrition.
“Sadly, I see that the subject area of dietetic education is lacking in children. Every presentation I give to students about nutrition and fitness stuns me over and over again. Students repeatedly inform me about the high volume of fast food they eat weekly.”
Although a formal internship is not required of undergraduates in public health, that didn’t hinder Ila from applying for the college’s Learning Experience through Academic Partnerships (LEAP) Program. Paired with a professional mentor at the Hillsborough County Health Department, she spent the fall semester interning in the Office of Immunizations and Refugee Health.
If Ila has one wish, it’s equal and quality healthcare for all children. “I believe that no matter what background a child comes from: economically, geographically, or socially, they deserve equal access to healthcare services and ability to live in an environment conducive to maintain overall health.”
Realizing that she’d rather be a part of the solution than the problem, Ila wants to become a health educator and advocate specifically for pediatric health. “My overarching goal is to reduce the amount of overweight and obese children in our nation, and provide them with the necessary resources and education to achieve a healthy lifestyle.”
A native of Sarasota, Ila is a member of USF Rotaract and a student assistant for the USF Naval ROTC Program. Her interests include cooking, knitting, running, and thrifting—reusing and recycling used clothes and furniture.
In May, Ms. Ila Jones and 146 of her classmates graduate with a bachelor of science in public health from USF. And, if she gets her way, she returns to the College of Public Health this fall to begin graduate studies in public health education.