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Meet: Janis Davis-Street

Nutritionist
NASA Johnson Space Center


photo of janis davis street at computer

My Journals

Who I Am

I am a nutritionist and work in the life sciences. I am part of a team whose job is determining the nutritional requirements for space flight, that is, finding out what foods and nutrients are important for the astronauts as they venture into space. Nutrition is very important in keeping us healthy here on Earth, and likewise, in space.


My Career Journey

I grew up in - Georgetown, Guyana, which is located on the north eastern coast of South America, and lived there till I was 19. I went to college in Ontario, Canada, and completed graduate school in Alberta, Canada. I immigrated to the US in 1987 and have lived in the Houston area since then.


Influences

I think that the educational experience that was most influential for me occurred in my final year of college in an advanced nutrition course. There we investigated and discussed the interactions between nutrition and health, and it was interesting to see how human behavior could so dramatically affect health. It was also exciting to consider that I could in some way be influential in changing those behaviors as a scientist or as a practicing nutritionist.


Preparation for Career

When I was in high school, probably about grade 9, I wanted to be a doctor, and have always been interested in science. During high school my friends and I put on several fund-raising activities to raise funds for graduation, etc. We did things like bake sales, walkathons, rummage sales, fashion shows, and concerts. It gave us all great experience in organizing, planning and budgeting - all of which I use in my job today.


Personal Information

I am a person who likes Middle Eastern, East Indian and Mexican foods - anything that's hot and spicy. My favorite fruits are guavas and green mangoes - native of my home country, Guyana. I enjoy drama and have directed and written a couple of plays while in high school and more recently for a church presentation. I especially love musicals - my favorites are "Jesus Christ-Superstar," "Les Miserables," and "Phantom of the Opera." I like rhythm and blues, reggae and light jazz.

I have traveled to several of the Caribbean islands, several US states and Canadian provinces, and to England since I was about 4 years old. I enjoy meeting and interacting with people, and my many travels have given me plenty of opportunity to do so. I also enjoy trying new foods and other cultural experiences.

One fact I would like you to remember about me is that I believe that anything is possible in life with hard work, determination, and emotional support. I would never have dreamt that someday I would be involved in the US space program.

My Family: Who We Are

My parents live in Georgetown, the capital of Guyana, in the house that I lived in since I was 8 years old - in fact we moved on May 8, 1970, one week after my birthday. I enjoy visiting my home, and wish that I could do so more often. Three of my siblings still live there as does a little piece of my heart.

I currently live in Friendswood, Texas - which, as the name implies, is a friendly community located about 18 miles from Houston. I am married to an organic chemist whom I met while in graduate school in Alberta. We have 2 sons - Andrew and Matthew, aged 6 and 3. Andrew plays the piano, is an orange belt in karate, and has a wonderful sense of humor. Matthew is quite a personality - he has the self-confidence of an adult, and loves singing, his mum and dad and big brother - not necessarily in that order. We have 2 dogs - brothers, Max and Peanut. They are a Husky-Australian Shepherd mix, and at 2 years old have more energy than we can quite keep up with. We love to go camping and hiking. We all enjoy music and our household is never quiet for long - you can count on someone to burst into song at a minute's notice.


My Future Plans and Goals

I think that the space program provides several opportunities to make science real and exciting for our classrooms. One of my future goals is to become more involved in communicating the fun and interest of science to young minds.

One day I hope to help develop interactive computer technology that will bring space research in the area of the life sciences to high school biology and chemistry classrooms.


Learn more from my NeurOn Chats
February 19, l998
April 15, 1998

 
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