7th Class, 2013-2015
Policy Placement: Mercy Corps, Washington, DC
As a Food Security Technical Adviser, Mathias divided his time between the Technical Support Unit for Health, Nutrition and Food Systems programming and the Policy and Advocacy team at Mercy Corps. He provided behavior change training and support to program teams, using barrier analysis methodology and positive deviance modeling to explore the social and cultural determinants of health. He also contributed to a number of working groups and consortia in the Washington, DC area around food security and resilience programming.
Field Placement: Mercy Corps, Coban, Guatemala
As a Food Security Analyst, Mathias supported Mercy Corps’ PROCOMIDA project in Coban, Guatemala during its final year of a six-year USAID grant. Mathias principally worked on complimentary data collection and qualitative analysis to improve beneficiaries’ absorption and retention of key nutrition messages. He trained select host country staff in Barrier Analysis methodology and led a study to identify gaps between knowledge and application of health behavior practices. Additionally, Mathias developed a self-efficacy survey to measure the perceptions of local health workers to better inform PROCOMIDA’s exit strategy as well as advise future nutrition projects using a similar community-based approach.
Mathias graduated from the University of Arizona in 2012 with an MPH in Health Behavior and Promotion. During his time in Tucson he worked with the Cooperative Extension service evaluating food aid and nutrition education programs in resource compromised communities. He also worked as a graduate assistant coordinating the Honor’s College Civic Engagement program. Prior to attending graduate school, Mathias served in the Peace Corps in Bolivia and Ecuador where he developed rural health education curricula and national HIV-outreach volunteer trainings. Mathias also has a strong background in health advocacy, having held positions with Americorps NCCC, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and Physicians for Social Responsibility. Mathias also holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Mary Washington.