Mary Willis, Ph.D. Professor, Nutrition & Health Sciences

Mary Willis is a bio-cultural anthropologist whose research is focused on culture transition in domestic and international settings. Her research focus includes malnutrition and growth-related sequelae; whole family health including dental health status and diet; and food and culture among immigrant and refugee populations to the U.S., as well farming communities in the highlands of Ethiopia. She is currently designing a USDA-NIFA funded study abroad program in Ethiopia with colleagues from the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, and the National Drought Mitigation Center. She is also co-teaching a related course, “Food Security: A Global Perspective.”

Willis directs other student service-learning experiences with Nebraska's immigrant, refugee and low-income populations, to help UNL students understand the concept of 'culture' and the impact of transitioning from one context to another. Prior to joining the Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences, she was a faculty member in UNL's Department of Anthropology from 2000-13. Before arriving at UNL, Willis completed a post-doctoral fellowship with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, where she worked within USAID's division of population, health and nutrition to monitor programs in Africa, Asia and South America.