Three Duke Students Appointed to WFPC Steering Committee

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
World Food Policy Center
Niisoja Torto, Julian Xie, Xinyan Lin

The Duke World Food Policy Center appointed three Duke students to the center’s steering committee. The students are each engaged in research with the center, and have with interests in food policy that span global health, food access, and environmental governance. The new steering committee members were introduced at the Spring 2019 meeting in February.

“These impressive and already accomplished individuals have a deep commitment to using their education to make positive changes in the world,” said Kelly Brownell, director of the WFPC and Professor of Public Policy and Psychology. “I have no doubt our committee will benefit from their insight and perspectives.”

The new steering committee members include Niisoja Torto, an undergraduate pursuing public policy and global health; Julian Xie, a Duke medical students who is also enrolled in the Master of Public Policy program; and Xinyan Lin, an environmental science and policy doctoral student.

Niisoja Torto is an undergraduate research assistant at the WFPC. At Duke, he studies public policy and global health. His research interests include the double burden of malnutrition, early childhood development and nutrition, and food aid. Niisoja’s Ghanaian-American identity informs his unending concern about health inequities in his community and around the world. Niisoja’s policy and programmatic experiences in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have shaped his understanding of some of the challenges and opportunities in leveraging policy solutions to improve the health outcomes of underserved populations. In the spring of 2019, he will begin writing his undergraduate thesis on reinventing food aid in low- and middle-income countries.

Graduate research assistant Julian Xie describes himself as interested in building a healthier food system through improving patient diets and growing a healthier food environment, advocating for sustainable procurement, promoting consumption of less meat/better meat, and addressing racial equity issues in the food system. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Duke University in 2015, and is now enrolled in medical school and the Master of Public Policy at Duke's Sanford School. He serves as a research assistant with the WFPC.

Graduate research assistant Xinyan Lin has worked on a wide range of local and global environmental governance issues, from forestry management to air pollution control, from marine plastics reduction to space debris removal. She is currently working on the WFPC Fisheries project. She is a graduate student in the Duke Nicholas School Coasts and Commons co-laboratory as a PhD student using her analytical skills on governance models and developing an in-depth understanding of the issue of coastal and marine conservation. Her graduate work focuses on China's issues of community fishery management in particular, with questions of how private and state actors institutionalize to manage marine resource; how has the relationship among the social groups evolved overtime; and what can be done to enhance the capacity of these social groups to better address marine conservation challenges