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Maggie O'Connor

School: Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Department: Agriculture, Food, and the Environment

Research Interests: Food Systems, Climate Change, Energy Innovation

Project: "Sustainable bio-energy and development in Kenya"

TIE Affiliation

TIE-SEI Internship


Maggie is a Master's student at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy studying Agriculture, Food and the Environment. She expects to complete her studies in May 2020. Prior to coming to Tufts, Maggie earned her B.A. in International Affairs with a concentration in International Development alongside a minor in Economics from The George Washington University in Washington D.C. During her time as an undergraduate, Maggie worked on a large independent research project on the effects of fair trade and other labeling mechanisms and their impacts on the achievement of ethical production. She also spent a year  serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Greater Chicago Food Depository helping to promote access to school meals throughout Cook County.

Current Studies and Future Goals

When asked what she found most meaningful about her field of study, Maggie responded with the following: "I think the most meaningful part of studying Agriculture, Food, and the Environment is the massive potential that this field has to solve a myriad of global issues, including climate change, health disparities, and gender and racial inequality. Because food is so central to our lives and our society, it holds huge possibilities to change our future for the better."

When asked why she wanted to be a TIE-SEI intern, Maggie responded with the following: "The environmental problems of today and the future will require interdisciplinary understandings of complex issues. I was interested in the TIE program because it provides its fellows with applicable research skills to begin to fully understand and address these issues. I was interested specifically in the opportunity to do research about cookstoves in developing countries because I feel that this topic fuses many of my research interests, including food, the environment, and our use of natural resources. It will also allow me to better understand not only the environmental impacts of what we eat, but also the potential impacts of how we prepare food." Maggie's internship will involve research on sustainable bioenergy and development in Kenya. This project involves a collaboration between international SEI centers, academic researchers, international organizations and local partners. Research will involve the collection of data concerning local energy use and analyzing the feasibility of low-impact energy solutions for the purpose of improving local and global human and environmental health.

When asked about her post-graduation plans, Maggie responded with: "After Tufts, I hope to use my knowledge of the food system and the ways it impacts the environment to work with companies, governments, and institutions to mitigate society’s negative impact on the environment by assessing and reforming our current approach to food and our use of natural resources."

Fun Facts!

When not doing schoolwork, Maggie enjoys yoga, reading and baking.

Favorite place you've visited: Cusco, Peru

Favorite think you've seen: The Northern Lights in Iceland

Favorite course taken at Tufts: Agricultural Science and Policy