NPF announces scholarship fund winners

NPF announces scholarship fund winners

By helping members of the community achieve their professional objectives, NPF continues to foster and support the advancement of natural health.

Natural Products Foundation is pleased to announce three recipients of the 2012 NPF Scholarship: Lauren Au of Tufts University, Taylor Kaufmann of Bastyr University, and Vanessa Mardones of Memorial University.

"Our scholarship program is part of the NPF's long-term commitment to the industry,” said David Matteson, chairman of the NPF Scholarship Committee. “Supporting academics to deepen the research and more widely share the evidence behind our products is critical to ensuring that natural products are embraced by the market, endorsed by regulators, and accessible to consumers."

“The NPF Scholarship Fund has received strong applications from students across the country,” said NPF chairman Derek Hall. “We were extremely impressed by the commitment we’ve seen from applicants, as well as the diversity of academic disciplines that students are pursuing to improve the natural health field. After reviewing so many excellent candidates, NPF is pleased to select Ms. Au, Ms. Kaufmann, and Ms. Mardones as the 2012 recipients of NPF Scholarship Awards.”

Lauren Au is a doctoral student at Tufts University's Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Ms. Au earned a Bachelor in Science in Nutritional Sciences, Dietetics from University of California, Berkeley and completed her Dietetic Internship and Masters in Nutrition and Public Health from Columbia University. Ms. Au is currently examining the influences of adiposity and skin color to serum vitamin D.

“My research involves determining the vitamin D intakes needed to meet recommended serum vitamin D and understanding adherence to taking vitamin D supplements in ethnically diverse children,” noted Ms. Au. She plans to apply her supplement research and food policy background to a post-doctoral position in government. Ms. Au's research will provide insight into vitamin D supplement recommendations for vulnerable childhood populations.

Taylor Kaufmann is an anthropologist and certified medical herbalist recently graduated from the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism. She is now pursuing a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University. Ms. Kaufmann spent much of her college career in the field studying cultures, including research conducted in Rwanda, Uganda, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Kenya, and Tanzania. Among her current academic activities, Ms. Kaufmann plans research that aims to demonstrate the efficacy of natural products.

“I want to facilitate Medical Doctors and Naturopathic Doctors working together,” stated Ms. Kaufmann. “The simple addition or substitution of a natural supplement to a patient’s treatment plan can increase the efficacy of some medications, or even alleviate negative symptoms. I do not believe that a patient should have to choose between Allopathic and Holistic or Alternative medicine. I want to cultivate a collaboration, a joining of these life-saving forces, to create the best, most well-rounded care possible.”

Vanessa Mardones is a member of the doctoral program in Biology at Memorial University. Ms. Mardones is a medical herbalist and former fellow at the National Center for Natural Products Research. She is investigating the environmental and cultural parameters that affect the potency of Rhodiola rosea, an adaptogenic plant native to arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. Her research will examine the effects of climate change on wild populations of the plant, broadening understanding of how environmental factors influence biosynthesis.

“It is my goal to conduct natural products research which contributes to a scientific understanding of the interrelationship between the phytochemical constituents of medicinal plant products and their growth conditions,” said Ms. Mardones. “Through my research I hope to achieve results which help to optimize the cultivation methods used to safely and sustainably procure potent medicinal plants, and to improve the quality of medicinal plants available in the natural products industry.”

All awards granted through the Scholarship Fund support ongoing natural education. By helping members of the community achieve their professional objectives, NPF continues to foster and support the advancement of natural health. NPF plans to again open applications to the Scholarship Fund at the end of 2012 through early 2013.

“This year's recipients illuminate the growing interest in natural products and the expanding career opportunities,” said Mr. Matteson. “Our goal is to grow the NPF Scholarship Program to support this welcomed interest. This is a great cause that is easily supported."

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