Jennifer Lovallo, ‘14
The windy road from international relations, to pastry chef, to pediatric nursing.
A former student in both global policy and pastry, Jennifer Lovallo has found her calling in pediatrics. At just 20 years old, Lovallo received her undergraduate degree from New York University in international relations and French. Soon after, she was working on global policy research at the United Nations Association, where she collaborated on the first-ever proposal to prevent genocide. While Lovallo enjoyed working for a good cause, she wanted a more hands-on career.
She began exploring her long-time passion for cooking and the culinary world as a student at Le Cordon Bleu’s sister school in Ottawa, Canada. Once again, Lovallo excelled in her studies and received her Grande Diplome as valedictorian. However, after three years in New York City as a pastry chef, she found herself enjoying part-time teaching English as a Second Language at Columbia University more fulfilling than perfecting her culinary skills.
“I missed working with kids, which I hadn’t done since I volunteered in my undergraduate years at NYU,” Lovallo said. In the past, Lovallo had volunteered at a children’s hospital in Detroit, where she saw children in critical conditions, often scared and alone. “I connected so well to those children, and that made me realize that I wanted to go into nursing.”
Lovallo’s own experiences in the emergency room also contributed to her decision, noting that nurses were the ones who stayed by her side. “Nurses are the ones who take care of the patients and translate what’s happening to you. I wanted that personal connection and knew I could find it in nursing.”
As someone seeking personal connections, Lovallo found just that when she visited the Yale School of Nursing (YSN). During YSN’s orientation, she realized that there was no other place she wanted to spend her next three years. Lovallo said it was the most she had connected with so many people at one time and knew she could succeed at YSN. “Everyone was so incredibly genuine and excited,” she added. “There was an energy here I didn’t feel at any other school, especially for pediatrics.”
At YSN, Lovallo has found the faculty to be “incredible.” She admits, “I’m amazed at how much I’ve learned in just a few months.” Lovallo has also taken advantage of the opportunities YSN offers, including volunteering in the pediatric oncology unit at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Professors’ creative teaching styles and her outside experiences through YSN have helped her connect concepts to reality, preparing her for clinicals and her future career in nursing.
Lovallo’s drive to succeed in pediatrics comes from her desire to make a difference in the world, which she hopes to continue through Doctors without Borders. “I want to be able to take international health research for children and put it into practice in places like sub-Saharan Africa,” she concluded.