Dr. Margaret Tims Younathan spent her life educating others on good nutrition. From food and nutrition classrooms at Oregon State University, University of Arkansas and LSU; to nutrition workshops in Sierra Leone and Jamaica; to her family’s dinner table, Younathan ensured everyone around her knew the importance of a healthy diet.
“She was very focused on better health through nutrition,” Dr. Janet Younathan said of her late mother. “For example, my mother was deeply concerned about childhood obesity and its effect on adult health. This focus developed early in her career, decades before it came into general public awareness. She was certainly a woman ahead of her time.”
“She worked very hard both at home and at her job,” Dr. Carol Younathan added, saying that her mother had a healthy, home-cooked meal on the table every night of the week for her family.
Carol explained that Margaret was thorough when teaching food labs and nutrition classes, making certain her students understood the chemistry and nutritional value of each food they prepared. “She wanted them to really understand what they were doing.”
Last year, the sisters teamed up to continue Margaret’s work through an endowed scholarship in her name. The scholarship will be awarded to a graduating senior in the College of Agriculture who intends to pursue a dietetic internship, a program required to become a registered dietician. Janet explained, “LSU does not offer this program. So, students that need this training must go elsewhere, often moving out of state. This scholarship will help offset the expenses associated with that training. Our goal is to build on the excellent academic curricula already offered in [LSU’s Food Science and Food and Nutrition] departments.”
They began funding the award with help from the matching gift program that Janet’s employer offers. The scholarship will be completely funded in 2015, and a bequest from Janet’s estate will increase the award.
The sisters shared that they hope the Dr. Margaret T. Younathan Scholarship will help students extend Margaret’s vision of a healthier population. “Students that get this award will be able to further their education,” Carol said. “Not only further their own education, but perhaps go back and teach other students, so that the information is propagated on a continuous cycle to always give back.”
Janet continued, “Assisting LSU students in completing a dietetic internship is a very appropriate way to remember our mother, because she was committed to good health through proper diet. In the larger picture, our vision is that this award will inspire its recipients to follow in her footsteps and do their part in helping others achieve their health goals.”
Published in Cornerstone Winter and Spring 2015.