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Student chooses ASU to make a difference in health worldwide

September 16, 2013

Derek Labansat, a freshman at Arizona State University and Texas native, is majoring in economics via the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Here, in this Q&A, he shares his aspirations for his time in college.

What made you select ASU?

Labansat: At first, I was considering ASU and Texas A&M. I was really impressed by the speeches that President Michael Crow would give, though. He always says that ASU is preparing students for jobs that don’t exist yet, and if you have a dream this is the place to help you do it. Why settle for a job that exists when you can create your own?

How are you enjoying Barrett, the Honors College?

Labansat: It’s a really close-knit community. I’m looking forward to taking advantage of the resources and opportunities, like internships and the Circumnavigator award, which allows you to study abroad in five different countries. I’m also going to run for vice president of the Barrett Council.

Why did you select economics as your major?

Labansat: It’s broad and I can apply it to my other interests, like global nutrition and how it plays into the economics of a country. Obese populations create a larger demand for dieticians, research and gyms. Populations that focus on healthy living see an increase in efficiency time management – like Japan.

Nutrition in early childhood development is important, too. Kids are eating pizza in elementary schools and think that is proper nutrition. They keep these habits with them as they get older because, unless you choose to learn more in college, there really isn’t a class focused on healthy living in high school.

Where does your interest in nutrition come from?

Labansat: I worked at GNC and Smoothie King. Working at GNC taught me about the vitamins and nutrients needed to enhance a healthy lifestyle. The global implications of nutrition really hit me while at a conference in Georgia. There are people in this world that are starving because they don’t have enough food; meanwhile I’m trying to gain weight for my personal preference.

Would you mind sharing one of your healthy lifestyle tips?

Labansat: Always eat your breakfast. Your mom wasn’t kidding when she told you this. Breakfast jump-starts your metabolism. Without it, your body will begin to feel starved and absorb all of the carbohydrates from your meals throughout the day to compensate.

How do you stay active?

Labansat: I like to rock climb, cycle and long board. Sometimes I get really tired of the gym, so those keep me going.

What’s your dream job?

Labansat: I would like to understand nutrition better so that I can help others understand. Maybe I’ll create that type of job for myself.