Hello, everyone! My name is Farah Mekhail, and I am a senior here at the University of Kentucky. I am a Human Nutrition major and currently applying to medical schools. I'm originally from Louisville, KY, but my family and I recently moved to Lexington because we consider Lexington our home!

Why did you choose to study Human Nutrition? 

I grew up in quite an unhealthy environment. Both my parents used to work, so it was easier for us, as a family, to consume most of our meals from either fast food restaurants or microwave meals. I rarely engaged in Physical activity, and when I did, it was one hour a week required by the school.

However, growing up, I saw the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle take a toll on my parents (fatigue, weight gain and diabetes), and I was determined to change my path in life and lead a healthier lifestyle.

My interest in Nutrition sparked in high school but grew immensely in college when I pursued this major. I am thankful that I did because I was able to help my family lead a much healthier lifestyle. We are now the so-called, ‘active’ family, and I am happy about that!

What has been your favorite part of studying Human Nutrition at UK? 

During Fall 2017, I was required to take the nutritional biochemistry class as part of my major. I had expected to be difficult and laborious as my peers had described it, but by the end of the semester, I have never felt more engaged and interested in learning than in this class.

Biochemistry was enjoyable because we had connected it to the mechanisms of the body, the hormones, and the interplay between genetics and nutrients absorption. Biochemistry was easy to grasp, understand and study because it was applied to real life situations. It went from being a required class to an essential class because it taught me how the nutrients can affect the body down the hormonal and cellular level.

One particular subject that interested me the most was the concept of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics. Nutrigenetics is the study of how genetics affects the way one digests nutrients and nutrigenomics is how the environment and nutrients affects expression of genes. Understanding these concepts allowed me to grasp the severity of diseases such as, PKU or the fact that exercise and consumption of antioxidants can alter gene expression throughout an individual’s lifetime.

I was engaged because I finally understood the importance of nutrition on a human body. I was finally able to connect the dots and apply it to my life and by extension, others around me.

What are your plans after graduating? 

After graduation, I hope to be in medical school further pursuing my goal of becoming a Physician. Growing up, I was certain I wanted to become a Pathologist. But, I fell in love with the Human Nutrition major, and I am now considering becoming an Endocrinologist.

Farah is very involved with Campus Kitchens and has served as a Recovery Shift Captain. She also serves as a Triager at the Salvation Army Clinic. As well, she is the Education and Empowerment Liaison for the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega. In this role, Farah organizes when, where, and how many volunteers can serve with various community organizations.