HIGH POINT, N.C., Oct. 19, 2012 – Andrew Faust, a 2012 graduate of High Point University who recently traveled to the United Arab Emirates to report on the crisis of obesity in Dubai, is making a name for himself. Thanks to an eye-opening article he penned for the Pulitzer Center’s Campus Consortium, his work has appeared on the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting website, as well as The Huffington Post online.
Faust, who graduated with degrees in biology and communication, had the opportunity to visit the UAE as part of a stipend from the Pulitzer Center’s Campus Consortium, which provides a fellowship to support students who are intent on pursuing overseas stories under the mentorship of Pulitzer-sponsored reporters. Faust was eager to take a journey to the Middle East to learn about their public health and media systems, and how they are combating the fast food industry. Faust saw the topic as the perfect way to connect his studies.
“There has been a huge fast food industry boom in the UAE and it’s affecting the nation’s consumers,” explains Faust, who is now a graduate student studying health communication at The University of Georgia. “Fast food has grown so rapidly in Dubai. Now, people are starting to see the effects of it. … You can literally have any fast food delivered to your door – anything you can get in the United States and more. I’ve never seen so many fast food restaurants in one place; the fast food availability is very reflective of their culture. Everything is at your fingertips. It truly takes convenience to another level.”
Following interviews with public health officials, nutritionists and locals, he learned that the country is slowly making efforts to increase initiatives to combat the ill-effects of fast food, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and more.
“There are obvious cultural differences, but they face a lot of the same problems that we deal with here in the U.S.,” he says. “It just happens to be a lot more concentrated there because it is happening so fast. The UAE has the right conditions to create a perfect storm, of sorts, to see these health issues happening right now. … But the experience was the perfect combination of my studies and passions. I love biology and I love journalism. This trip served as a great transition into my graduate studies in health communication at The University of Georgia.”
Upon returning home, Faust says he spent a great deal of time determining how to focus his story. In the end, his hard work paid off. Once the story ran on the Pulitzer’s website, he was contacted by The Huffington Post.
“Having the opportunity report on the current obesity crisis in the UAE was an incredible experience for me,” Faust says. “I was able to apply the skills that I acquired in my classes at HPU in my project, and I am excited to be able to share my findings in The Huffington Post and on the Pulitzer Center’s website.”
In addition to graduate school, Faust also serves as a correspondent for a health awareness organization in Dubai.
To view Faust’s articles, visit http://pulitzercenter.org/projects/united-arab-emirates-obesity-diabetes-fast-food-industry-health or http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-faust/a-weighty-concern-obesity_b_1864394.html.