Graduate Student Researchers

Saralyn Foster, MS, RD, LD

Saralyn Foster is from San Antonio, TX. She is a third-year doctoral student and a registered and licensed dietitian. Saralyn has a Masters of Science in Health and Kinesiology from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a Bachelors of Science from Texas A&M University – College Station. Her research interests include maternal, infant and child nutrition. Saralyn’s career goal is to work in an academic setting doing research and educating future dietitians. She would also like to get involved in public policy and advocate for the health of mothers and children.

Saralyn is currently working on two independent projects focused on associations related to maternal and child health. The first project is evaluating breastfeeding duration’s association with mom’s long term body mass index (BMI) and postpartum weight retention. The participants will also be stratified by socioeconomic status (SES) to see how associations may differ across different SES levels. For this first project, Saralyn is using data from the Geographical Research on Well-being (GROW) Study with Dr. Catherine Cubbin and her doctoral student, Christian Vazquez, at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work. The second project is using data from the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH) at Columbia University to assess associations between maternal obesity at child age seven with child growth, body composition, and cardiometabolic risk at child age seven to nine. Saralyn is also assisting with both the MINT study and the MAGIC study as well as working as a Teaching Assistant for the Department of Nutritional Sciences.

Fun fact: Saralyn is left-handed.

Marcela Abrego, MPH

Marcela Abrego is from Houston, Texas. She is a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin. Marcela earned her Master of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where her areas of interest were Nutrition and Health Quality. At UNC, she was president of the Public Health Leadership Student Association and served as a Public Health Senator in the Graduate and Professional Student Government. Marcela is a UT alum and was an undergraduate research student in the Davis and Brenna labs. Professionally, Marcela joined the Quality and Strategic Management department of the Williamson County and Cities Health District to work on Community Health Assessment and Improvement projects. She has been an Intervention Specialist at UNC, a Research Assistant at the University of Virginia, and Research Data Analyst for an international fatty-acid-focused non-profit named GOED.

Marcela’s research interests are in Maternal, Infant, and Child Nutrition and Health, particularly regarding metabolic syndrome. Her career goal is to work in academia as a research investigator and educator and to contribute to health policy improvement for mothers and children.

Fun fact: Marcela is a certified Lagree instructor!

Madilyn Bradley

Hi! My name is Madilyn, and I am from Montgomery, Texas. I graduated from UT with a degree in Nutrition this past Spring. I am hoping to gain more research experience and skills before applying to doctoral programs in epidemiology. Along with maternal and infant nutrition, I have a passion for vaccine interventions and disease ecology.

Fun fact: I have a lizard!