Class of 2016: Gregory LaFortune – Healthy Food Advocate
Nutrition undergraduate student Gregory LaFortune was diagnosed with diabetes at age 11. This diagnosis propelled him to study how nutrition affects the body, majoring in nutrition at Georgia State to help others learn about healthy eating habits.
LaFortune is Haitian and passionate about educating the Haitian community in regards to following a balanced diet. He credits his mother with changing the way the family ate after his diabetes diagnosis.
“Our culture already has good food, but Haitians need an advocate to tie that to good nutrition,” said LaFortune. “Rice and plantains are staples in Haitian meals but I want to educate people on how to make this healthier, not to change our culture.”
LaFortune knows the importance of food security, how to eat for optimal health, proper portion size and the science of food. He is now looking for a job that will lead to a dietetic internship and plans to take the exam to be a registered dietitian. He also hopes to travel to Haiti to educate the local population on nutrition.
An outgoing student, LaFortune participated in a variety of extracurricular activities while at Georgia State. He played tuba in the marching band his freshman year, highlighted by marching in the parade in Washington, D.C. for President Obama’s inauguration. LaFortune also won the communication department’s speech contest during his freshman year. He used a trash can as a prop to support his topic about unhealthy foods.
“I love public speaking and social media as platforms to engage people in nutrition advice,” said LaFortune.
LaFortune served Georgia State as an Incept orientation leader for new students in 2013 and as a member of the student government from 2013 to 2015. He also serves on the advisory board of the 1913 Society, the student ambassador program for events organized under the office of President Mark Becker. Finally, he stays busy working as a tour guide at the welcome center for potential students and their parents.
“I’ve had a great experience at the university,” said LaFortune. “It has helped me academically, socially, professionally and overall made me more culturally aware.”