B.S. (1999) Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene, TX
Masters (2002) Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
Dietetic Internship (2003) Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Ph.D. (2007) University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
I have a passion for community and public health nutrition. My research focuses on childhood obesity prevention and intervention and the relationships between preschool-aged children and the adults in their lives. I observe the interactions that occur between parents, caregivers, and young children during mealtime and the study the impact these interactions might have on a child s food consumption and learned eating behaviors. In addition, I develop and implement theory-based obesity prevention interventions for low-income, minority populations based on sound observational investigations and qualitative research.
I specialize in qualitative methodologies, particularly in-depth individual interviews and focus groups. I apply these methodologies when conducting needs assessments, as well as program evaluations. I enjoy acting as a qualitative research consultant for other investigators from around the country, training them in techniques needed to create rigorous and trustworthy qualitative research studies.
The first goal in the 2011-2020 NC State University strategic plan is to enhance the success of our students through educational innovation. My vision for educational innovation includes offering students challenging coursework in non-traditional settings, in addition to providing them opportunities for engaging in quality research and service. With this vision in mind, I encourage my students to pursue excellence in and outside of the classroom while providing them with support to reach their goals.
In my service-learning based Community Nutrition course, students work in teams to teach cooking, nutrition, and food safety to low-income individuals in the community. In my “flipped” Nutrition through the Life Cycle course, students watch mini-lectures online and work in class to solve case studies and develop recommendations for theoretical patients. Finally, in my Senior Capstone in Nutrition course, students work in groups to conduct research and develop useable products for a myriad of community partners.
In addition to incorporating service-learning into my courses, I have developed Nutrition NUTS, a student outreach program that serves children from low-income families and their parents. Through Nutrition NUTS, students visit Head Start preschools to read nutrition and health-related books to 3 to 5 year old children, teach their parents about health and
wellness topics, or provide nutrition education training to their preschool teachers. Each semester, approximately 30 students from all over campus dedicate time each week to serve their community through Nutrition NUTS, and in return, they gain a respect for cultural diversity, community programming, and the many public health issues facing our society.
• NTR 220: Food and Culture (Summer)
• NTR 490: Senior Capstone in Nutrition (Fall and Spring)
• NTR 495: Community Food Security (Summer)
• NTR 520/420: Community Nutrition (Fall)
• NTR 521/421: Nutrition through the Life Cycle (Spring)
• Early Professional Award, Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior, 2014
• Community Engaged Faculty Fellow, North Carolina State University
• Academy of Outstanding Teachers, North Carolina State University, member since 2013
• Outstanding Teacher Award, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Representative, North Carolina State Univeristy, 2012-2013
• At Home in the World Faculty Fellow, Office of Institutional Equality and Diversity, North Carolina State University, 2013-2014
• Opal Mann Green Engagement and Scholarship Award, member of the Gardening and Nutrition PIECES collaborative, North Carolina State University, 2011