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Spotlighted Student: Milla Sanes 2010

Amelia (Milla) Sanes ‘10, a Haverford Economics Major, has invested a great deal of time, passion and energy into educating people on nutritious food and making healthy choices. Milla worked the summer following her freshman year in Haverford’s Eighth Dimension office where Director of the center, Mary Lou Allen, has been a mentor and role model in paving a path toward a course of study, and career, in nutrition and making healthy food available and affordable to lower income communities.

Born and raised in St. Louis Missouri, Milla moved to Boston as she was entering her junior year of high school.

Milla visited Haverford College as a senior in high school and spent a week with a family friend who was attending the college. She had the auspicious occasion to attend plenary which clinched her decision to apply to Haverford. The Haverford community felt right to her, and she had no doubts she was making the right decision when her application was accepted and she enrolled as a student.

Milla took an economics class in high school that was very interesting, and when she came to Haverford she took Linda Bell’s Economics of Public Policy course which sealed her decision to major in Economics.

Haverford’s professors and staff have been very supportive and integral to Milla’s positive experience, as have the deep friendships she has developed during her four years here. A highlight for Milla has been integrating one of Haverford’s unique qualities, Honor Code, into her daily life.

In addition to her work with Eighth Dimension where, among other things, she cultivated a volunteer opportunity database, her summers have been full of rewarding internships. As a rising junior she worked as a Development Intern at Breakthrough Cambridge where she organized meetings with past and potential donors. This past summer she worked in the development department as a general intern at Philadelphia based Foodtrust, a non-profit aimed at providing affordable nutritious food to area communities.

Milla’s schedule is very busy with not only her rigorous academic curriculum; since freshman year she has played rugby and frisbee, and has juggled two jobs, managing Lunt Café and working at Foodtrust.

Using a unique data set that tracks student lunch trays from what they choose to what they throw away, Milla's thesis explores whether getting students to CHOOSE healthy food will, in fact, get them to EAT healthy food. So far, she has found that healthy food is thrown away in much higher proportions than unhealthy food. This is important for two reasons. First, it is some of the strongest evidence to date of people mispredicting their own preference over a very short time period. Second, it suggests that improving nutrition options, and even getting students to choose these options, might not be enough to improve their nutrition.

In anticipation of graduation, she has applied for fellowships that focus on food-access, and she has interviewed for a position at Foodtrust as a youth urban coordinator. She’s particularly interested in Foodtrust’s ‘Farm to School’ program, which connects Philadelphia School District High Schools with local farmers to bring fresh, local fruits and vegetables into the schools. After a couple of years of work experience she plans to enroll in graduate school to earn either an MBA or a graduate degree in Public Policy.

The Climbing Stone, by Peter Rockwell '58, is located outside Magill Library.

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