Proudest career accomplishment in the past year:

I authored a grant and received funding to purchase a blender bike for our school district, which is used as the focal point in a nutrition class that I helped develop. The bike provides a memorable, “feet-on” lesson about the importance of nutrition and exercise, while allowing students to taste the end result of their hard work: a fruit smoothie. I was also able to use the blender bike in a fundraising capacity with a BYOB (Blend Your Own Breakfast) event for our schools’ United Way campaign. To see the joy in the adults’ faces as they pedaled, made smoothies and rang the bell on the bike was very rewarding. 

Best career advice you’ve been given: 

Always look for opportunities to network because you never know how your paths might cross again, or what new doors could be opened by building relationships. 

Most valued trait in a workplace: 

I value a workplace where I have the support of my supervisor to be creative and generate new ideas, as well as one that realizes the importance nutrition plays in helping everyone be healthy, productive individuals. My position is the direct result of our child nutrition director knowing the importance of creating healthy habits early on and providing children with healthy foods to taste. 

One thing you would change about foodservice: 

I wish manufacturers would make the same products we are able to receive in schools available to consumers. It sends such a mixed message to kids when they have whole-grain, reduced-fat and reduced-sugar snack foods at school, but they are not receiving the same things when purchased at a local store.