About Malak

Throughout her time in college, Malak Kudaimi was active in establishing and maintaining food security efforts on campus, including serving as Student Manager at the FRESH Basic Needs Hub, the largest college basic needs center in the country. Kudaimi achieved summa cum laude honors in two majors, International Studies and Public Health Policy; was elected to Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society as a junior (top 1%); and was among only nine students to complete the highly selective Public Health Honors Program in 2017-18. 

After graduating, Kudaimi served as a Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow in the 25th class of fellows. As an Emerson Fellow, Kudaimi worked with the University District Food Bank in Seattle on the organization’s college hunger initiative. She also wrote a policy memo that informed House Bill 1893 to provide emergency assistance to students, which was signed into Washington state law in 2019. During the second half of her fellowship, she worked on a research project concerning the U.S. Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) at the non-profit organization 1,000 Days in Washington D.C.  

 In her present work as the CalFresh Coordinator at the FRESH Basic Needs Hub, Kudaimi manages a team of Student Assistants and builds partnerships across campus to raise awareness of CalFresh benefits. As she continues to pursue her passion for global health, for nutrition policy, and for chronic disease prevention, Kudaimi intends to use her Marshall Scholarship funding to support graduate study in the MSc. in Health and International Development at the London School of Economics. Her research will inform her advocacy for evidence-based policy in the Middle East region, as a future public health professional, as well as her continued engagement with other Marshall Scholars on international policy and humanitarian concerns.



1)  If we ask one of your friends to describe you, what would they say?

My friend would say I’m loyal and trustworthy, someone who deeply cares about her faith, family, and close friends. They would say that I take the time to listen deeply, reflect on life, and enjoy having intellectual discussions about the world. They would also note my passion for public service and social justice

2)  What life events or personal mentorships, if any, directed you to the field of study you have chosen for your future endeavors?

My family’s history of chronic disease led me to discover the field of public health, in an effort to prevent susceptibility to these conditions through good nutrition and exercise. In terms of the international development field which I’d like to break into, this comes from my desire to use my knowledge and skills to give back to my community and my people in the home of my ancestors. A myriad of people helped me get here, but I want to specifically thank Dr. Miryha Runnerstrom,  Associate Director, Undergraduate Program in Public Health , Andrea Gutierrez, Director of the FRESH Basic Needs Hub, and Dr. Ian Straugh, Associate Professor, UCI Department of Anthropology , for their endless support, encouragement, and mentorship throughout the way.

3) How and why did you choose the Marshall Scholarship opportunity and what was your experience like working under the tutelage of your SOP advisor?

I chose the Marshall Scholarship because I was intrigued by the idea of doing an applied Master’s degree for one year in a cosmopolitan city that has many International Development professionals. Many Master’s programs in the US are two years, and I’d prefer to learn and then go out into the field and apply what I learn as soon as possible. Working with Courtney Santos from SOP was truly a wonderful experience. She was patient and kind in her reviews of my various drafts for the essay, and providing general advice about grad school throughout the entire process. I’m very grateful for her and the entire SOP team for their support.

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