Cate Marchetti ’20

2018 Summer Scholar


Cate Marchetti '20 first became interested in nutrition while running track in high school. Her desire to become a registered dietician led her to study public health at Brown, where her time as a Hassenfeld Summer Scholar sparked a passion for maternal and child health.

In the summer of 2018, Marchetti worked with Dr. Elissa Jelalian and Dr. Whitney Evans of the Hassenfeld Institute’s Healthy Weight Initiative on a randomized control trial of a community intervention in Central Falls, one of the poorest cities in the state. They wanted to examine whether having access to regular, scheduled programming during the summer affected nutrition and weight gain among children.

“We did a lot of data collection and data analyses, but we also spent time with the kids and talked to their parents,” Marchetti said.

Drs. Jelalian and Evans allowed Marchetti to use data from the project to develop her own research project focusing on the relationship between eating meals away from home, the home food environment and children's weight status.

“I definitely became more interested in social determinants of health after what I saw in Central Falls during our study, so I took more classes on how socioeconomic status, race and gender can impact health,” Marchetti said.

Wanting to further develop her budding interest in maternal and child health, Marchetti spent the following summer interning with Brown’s Advanced Baby Imaging Lab (ABI) in Pawtucket, where she supported a study focused on optimizing infant nutrition. There, Marchetti worked with the IRB and interacted with mothers in the community who came from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds.

“I learned a lot about balancing responsibility and growing my ability with data analysis. I got to build on a lot of things I had learned as a Hassenfeld scholar,” Marchetti said.

Marchetti graduated from Brown in May and worked for a life sciences consulting firm for a few months, but she missed public health research and the network of colleagues she had created  at Brown. In November, she accepted a position with the ABI to work in Dr. Sean Deoni’s pediatric neuroimaging lab. Marchetti is thrilled to resume her work at ABI.

“What I liked about working in the lab was the ability to build more relationships in the community and feeling like I was doing important work,” Marchetti said.

In Dr. Deoni’s lab, Marchetti will have a hand in several studies focused on child health and will play a role in maintaining the integrity of the lab’s data. Marchetti is excited to work in a lab doing cutting-edge research using technology such as Apple watches and other equipment designed to collect health data.

“We’re entering the digital age with health,” Marchetti said, “and it’s great to work in a place that’s so progressive.”

Marchetti says that her time as a Hassenfeld scholar contributed to this trajectory.

“A lot of my passion for this really goes back to that summer when I was given that opportunity to work with moms and kids in Central Falls through the Hassenfeld Summer Scholars program,” Marchetti says.

Learn more about our Summer Scholars Program.

Learn more about our Healthy Weight, Nutrition and Fitness Initiative.