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Cornell University

Tata-Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition

Dr. Kathryn Merckel

Kathryn Merckel completed her PhD in international nutrition in 2020. She is currently the associate director for nutrition and food systems at the international development nonprofit ACDI/VOCA. Kathryn studied biofortification and its role in diversifying diets, particularly those of women and children. Her dissertation research was based on an effectiveness trial on the potential of orange sweet potato to improve nutrition that she led in 15 villages in rural Uttar Pradesh. Her findings have demonstrated the constraints and opportunities for biofortified crops to improve micronutrient adequacy of diets in North India, as well as the importance of understanding the varietal preferences of producers and consumers. Kathryn was involved with TCI in several capacities over her time at Cornell as a summer intern and a research support specialist. She holds a master’s degree in international development from Cornell. Her Bachelor of Science in food science is from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Kathryn has studied Swahili as a Boren Scholar in Tanzania, and was awarded a FLAS Fellowship from the US Department of Education to study Hindi.