Doctoral Student Spotlights

Christy Spackman

Food Studies

I chose this Doctoral Program Because:
Saying I chose Food Studies because it "felt right" seems a bit odd, yet that is exactly why I chose NYU's Food Studies Program. When I applied, I was already pursuing a PhD in Food Science, yet my project and program lacked the opportunity to explore the cultural component of food consumption. Food Studies, with its interdisciplinary focus and ability to approach problems in new ways, offered the missing piece to my academic puzzle.
My academic passion is:
Finding ways to explore the "why" questions.
One of the things I enjoy doing in New York City when I'm not being a doctoral student:
I love to run and bike around the city. Self-powered sight seeing opens up new ways of imagining the city, which then influences my own research.
A hobby I have is:
I procrastibake, and when I have the time, I blog about my procrastibaking.
My favorite place to get coffee or eat around NYU:
I love the Essex street market--it's a world of history and flavor all wrapped up in one easily accessible package.
Focus of my research of scholarship:
I am researching how the gendered, middle class consumer engages in self-treatment of health issues using commercially produced foods such as Vitamin Water.
I'm interested in this topic because:
Everywhere I go I see people paying a lot for colored, flavored waters that claim the ability to cure just about everything. Last spring, I came across a pop-up store entirely devoted to promoting one of these product lines. It tasted horrid. Yet consumers all around me seem to embrace these drinks--why?
Academic or other experience that most influenced my choice of doctoral study:
Reading Marion Nestle's book, What to Eat. I didn't know Food Studies existed before picking her book up, and by the time I was done reading, I'd decided to apply.
Research or scholar I most admire:
Amy Bentley, because of her ability to balance scholarship with the rest of life's demands.
Research project I've most enjoyed working on:
My first semester I researched and wrote about tourist bubbles at Caribbean ports of call--not only did my research open my eyes to new ways of seeing the world, I got to go on a cruise to do it.
Favorite course as a doctoral student:
A toss-up between Cultures of Biomedicine in the Anthropology department (taught by Rayna Rapp), or the Steinhardt Historical Research Methods course (taught by Jonathan Zimmerman)
What I like most about being part of a community of doctoral students:
I keep meeting brilliant, wonderful, fascinating students who inspire me. From garbage artists to nutritional anthropologists to educational scholars: we all have something to share with each other, and are enriched through the process.

Background Information

Where you grew up:
Northern Utah
Career Goals:
Either academia or, if that fails, work in a consumer insights position
Honors, Awards, and Achievements:
Steinhardt Doctoral Fellowship, Jonathan Baldwin Turner Fellowship, NYU Graduate Student Organization Outstanding Student Star Award
Other professional or service activities:
NFSPH Department Representative, Graduate Student Organization Graduate Student Representative, Institute of Food Technologists Education Division Member (2009-2010) Institute of Food Technologists subpanel on Public Policy, Food Laws and Regulations