What has been your proudest career accomplishment within the last year?
I started in my role as director of nutrition and wellness just over a year ago, in June 2020. At that time, I was stepping into a critical role during a very unprecedented time. While the nutrition program was well established, we had lost much of the team and there were new challenges to overcome. Among those were quarantine meals, significant changes to operations and reduced menu offerings.
Despite these challenges and shifts, I worked to build rapport with my colleagues and our student body. I successfully connected with students through social media and virtual events during a time when students were not on campus and engagement was low. I also worked with our culinary teams to help add excitement and boost morale with “staff feature” menus during a time when large special events were challenging. This year was different than anyone could have ever expected, and I am proud of the work I have done to meet the needs of our students while getting acclimated in my new role.
What’s been your most rewarding moment?
A big part of my job is meeting with students who have dietary restrictions to help them find the options they need. It’s always really rewarding to hear back from students and realize that I made a positive impact on their college experience.
Most recently, a parent called and let me know that her son had chosen to come to NC State because of a conversation we had when he was deciding between two schools. Food plays a huge role in the college experience, especially for students with dietary restrictions. Ensuring that students are comfortable and safe with their dining options is very rewarding!
What attracted you to noncommercial foodservice?
It allows for creativity and collaboration with the common goal of enhancing the guest experience. In university dining, specifically, I love having the opportunity to collaborate with other departments on campus to help students have a great college experience. As a dietitian, my focus is on nutrition education. Working in university dining provides a unique opportunity to teach students about nutrition through the food we serve and experiences we provide.