AU 2014 Research Week kicks off on campus

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - Even though it may not always be our first thought, knowing what goes into our bodies everyday is the key to living a healthy life and food systems, safety and security is the theme of Auburn University's Research Week 2014.

"We get to see work going on that we wouldn't see at any other time. Plus, we invite the community, so they can see what is happening at Auburn," explains Jennifer Kerpelman, AU Associate Dean of Research.

Research Week kicked off Tuesday where faculty, graduate and undergraduate researchers presented work on a variety of topics from food security to fine and applied art.

"A lot of the times we are in our own colleges or our own department and we know what we're doing, but we don't really realize the impressive work our colleges are doing across the campus and where we might have connected," says Kerpelman.

"My research built a lot of personal confidence because I was presented with a problem, presented with a question and it was my responsibility to figure out how to answer that question," explains AU Alumnus and Cambridge Scholar, Erica Meissner.

Meissner, and All-American swimmer at Auburn who earned an anthropology degree in 2011, was one of today's kickoff speakers.

She spoke of how her career today as a consultant in Washington D.C. Directly ties into the research she did while at Auburn, looking at food security in rural Alabama.

"The meat of that project was looking at access to food and the ability of residence of Lee County to access healthy and nutritious foods. For people on Auburn's campus, it isn't an issue, but you go five minutes off campus and it is an issue," says Meissner.

Auburn Speaks is an annual publication of the Office of Research.

This year Auburn Speaks: On Food Systems is available to the public and serves as a guide for the everyday person to understand nutrition, food safety and access.

"It really helps keep people updated with what is going on and the great knowledge that is being generated and how it matter," explains Kerpelman.

Events will continue through Thursday.

For a full schedule of events visit

Copyright 2014 WTVM. All rights reserved.