On the Job

A longtime Friedman School champion underwrites new career center
Ellie Block

Ellen Block, BSOT66, aims to help Friedman students and alumni make a difference in the US and around the globe.

Whenever Ellen Block, BSOT66, has visited the Tufts campus, she has talked with Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy students about their plans to apply their knowledge out in the world.

The students’ wide-ranging ideas inspired Block, a past chair of the school’s board of advisors, to pose this question: How can we better help Friedman School students start careers in areas that didn’t even exist just a few years ago—new roles in cognitive, emotional, and physical health and policy, and in agricultural development, energy, climate change, and humanitarian aid and disaster relief?

The answer: A dedicated career services program at the Friedman School. The Ellen H. Block Career Services Center opened this fall on the first floor of the Jaharis Building on the Tufts University Boston campus. A staff of four—a director of career services, two associate directors, and an administrative coordinator—are virtually providing job fairs, exposure to different careers, and much more. From day one, students are receiving one-on-one coaching and access to a network of professionals ready to advise and connect them.

“If our fantastic faculty are equipping them with the knowledge and skills to improve the world and society, it only seems right for us to give our students this extra piece so they can actually go out and make that difference,” said Block, who also helped establish student scholarships at the Friedman School.

Block is particularly excited that one of the associate directors is focusing entirely on technology, including a searchable online database for student and alumni use, as well as a robust social media presence. “Actively communicating online the range of jobs held by our graduates is another way the Friedman School can set itself apart from other nutrition education programs and also attract a more diverse population of prospective students and employers,” said Block.

Friedman School Dean Dariush Mozaffarian said Block has been a champion of the school’s students. “This gift is a reflection of how deeply she cares about the development of our students,” he said. “Thanks to her leadership and the generosity of the Ellen & Ronald Block Family Foundation and the Hassenfeld Family Foundation, both the school and generations of Friedman School students will benefit from cutting-edge career development and support to be the best."

Block said it’s the students who deserve thanks for what they do with their education. “It’s rewarding to learn about new discoveries in the field and how our research can influence policy,” she said, “but what’s best of all is getting to hear from graduates who are making real change in communities both in the US and abroad.”