Zara Awan is a Nutritionist in Mary’s Center’s WIC Program. She sees participants at the site on Georgia Avenue in Washington, DC. She obtained a BS in Dietetics from Michigan State University, and completed her research-focused dietetic internship at Virginia State University. She is currently taking her last steps in becoming a Registered Dietitian. Ms. Awan enjoys strawberries, broccoli and avocados as snacks and believes it’s important to paint your plate with different fruits and vegetables. She loves baking, running, reading, traveling and spending time with family and friends. She speaks fluent English and Urdu and basic Arabic. Ms. Awan says: “I have always had a passion for serving others especially when it comes to nutrition and I enjoy guiding clients to help them create healthy lifestyles through the Mary's Center WIC program.”
Born in Ghana and fluent in English and Akan, Odi Boateng joined Mary's Center in June 2011. She is the Director of the WIC Program and enjoys interacting with participants from different parts of the world. She studied at Howard University in Washington DC as an American Association of University Women International Fellow. She also studied at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana. Odi has a Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and a Master's degree in Nutrition. Odi initially studied nutrition to find out how to prevent malnutrition. "But the more I learned, the more I got to know that poor nutrition can cause obesity and also lead to lifestyle diseases like diabetes and hypertension." Odi says being a Registered Dietitian affords her the opportunity to help people navigate through all the information regarding food and nutrition so that healthy eating is easy and delicious. Her favorite healthy food is sliced papaya and in her free time she enjoys collecting stamps and traveling.
Darleen C. Castillo is a bilingual Registered Dietitian originally from Puerto Rico. Mrs. Castillo joined Mary’s Center in April 2016. She has a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Puerto Rico and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Human Nutrition with the University of Alabama. Mrs. Castillo previously worked as a clinical dietitian in the sub-acute rehab and long term care facility of the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington. She also completed a research fellowship with the National Institutes of Health focused on diabetes and heart disease in people of African descent. Mrs. Castillo enjoys working with diverse populations. Her passion, as a registered dietician, is helping patients prevent and manage chronic disease by modifying eating habits and creating healthier lifestyles. In her free time, Mrs. Castillo loves spending time with family, cooking, dancing and exercising outdoors.
Born in Lima, Peru, Maiyu Fernandez has been fortunate enough to grow up in various cities in the US and across the globe. Traveling the world at a young age helped her to identify a unique perspective, passion, and inspiration, shaping her into who she is today. With an educational roadmap that paved the way to nutrition and public health, Ms. Fernandez received her BS in Dietetics in 2008 and her MPH in 2009. She has been part of Mary’s Center team since February 2014 and takes pride in helping others find their own journey to a healthier lifestyle in her role as a Licensed Nutritionist. She enjoys going to spinning and dancing classes, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
Nichole Latoni Gonzalez joined the Mary’s Center team in March 2016 and sees participants at our Adams Morgan and Petworth locations. She specializes in nutrition and dietetics. Born in Puerto Rico, she is bilingual in Spanish and English. She obtained a BS in Family Ecology and Nutrition Science from the University of Puerto Rico, and did her dietetic internship at the School of Health Professions at the same university.Ms. Latoni has worked as a dietitian on the surgery ward at University District Hospital in Puerto Rico. She has been interested in healthcare and helping people improve their lives since childhood. Her passion for nutrition began when she was diagnosed with hypoglycemia. She realized all the different ways nutrition could affect people's lives. Ms. Latoni was drawn to Mary’s Center when she saw the many programs the Center implements in the community and their impact. She enjoys reading, playing video games, hiking and traveling.
WIC Nutritionist Paige Zaitlin is a Registered Dietitian, a Licensed Nutritionist in the District of Columbia, and a Licensed Dietitian-Nutritionist in Maryland. Ms. Zaitlin holds a BS in Nutritional Science from Cornell University. She obtained an MS in Nutrition from Tufts University, where she also completed her dietetic internship. She joined Mary's Center in March 2014 and sees participants at the site on Georgia Avenue in Washington, D.C. Ms. Zaitlin enjoys fat -free Greek yogurt as a snack and says making vegetables half of your meal is a good idea. She loves spinning, yoga, cooking, painting, reading, traveling and playing with her puppy, Oliver. She served in the Peace Corps in Uganda, East Africa, in 2013. Ms. Zaitlin says: "I chose to work in healthcare because I feel that every person is entitled to know how to feed themselves and their family nutritious foods. I like giving back, and I am interested in helping our Mary's Center population with their nutritional needs through WIC."