UArizona Yuma alum wants to serve and celebrate her hometown

May 1, 2023
Yuma downtown aerial photograph

Sunset aerial view of the downtown cityscape of Yuma, Arizona.


Lily Yu Lin McNair

Lily Yu Lin McNair

To say Lily Yu Lin McNair keeps busy would be a bit of an understatement. She’s in the midst of clinical dietetics rotations and graduate coursework as she pursues her Professional Science Masters in Applied Nutrition from the University of Arizona. She’s working with the Regional Center for Border Health (RCBH) on diabetes prevention education, culinary medicine initiatives, and prenatal nutrition counseling. She’s supporting current and future dietitians as the District President for the Southwest District of the Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. And she’s just getting started.

McNair’s journey with nutrition and dietetics began at UArizona’s Yuma Campus, where she earned her B.S. in Nutritional Sciences in 2022. “When COVID happened, I realized I didn't want to be away from my family,” she recalled. “So I started looking around to see what options I had with the U of A if I was going to stay in Yuma, and that eventually turned into an interest in nutritional sciences.”

Once she found her interest, she threw herself into it wholeheartedly, and she hasn’t looked back since. She began working with local organizations like RCBH to deliver essential nutrition education and counseling that would resonate with border communities, and she co-founded a new nutrition chapter of MANNRS at UArizona Yuma, where she organized mentorship and networking programming for her fellow students.

Behind all of McNair’s efforts and ambitions is a commitment to her hometown. “I really want to stay and work in Yuma,” she said. “I’ve always found it to be a really special and unique place. There's a lot of need, but there's also a lot of room for development and innovation, room to do things that have huge potential to help people.”

McNair is optimistic about the future of dietetics in Yuma. “There’s been a dietitian desert in Yuma, but that’s starting to change,” she said. “A lot of my classmates are committed to working in Yuma when we graduate. And the opportunities are there. When organizations get the opportunity to work with dietitians, they’re usually very positive about it, and that’s really exciting.”