Alumni Spotlight

Kristen Kizer -  Human Biology/Dietetics Internship Major 

 

Describe your experience at UWGB.

I came to UWGB a bit unexpectedly. I already had a bachelor’s in Biology, but decided to become a dietitian. Not knowing where to start, I was directed to UWGB by the national RD website. I happened to visit campus during student advising and Dr. Debra Pearson let me schedule a session with her even before I was a student. Already having a degree allowed me to focus almost exclusively on nutrition and I remember being practically giddy about my schedule. Though only there for 1.5 years, I feel I got the full experience bonding with my classmates and making last connections with my professors.

What do you do for a living now?

For the last five years I’ve been in my dream job as a wellness dietitian where I work with the employees of the #1 hospital in Texas, Houston Methodist. I create and teach nutrition education classes, do nutrition counseling for weight loss and diabetes prevention and management, and teach fitness classes as well. I also do some minor but exciting contract work with our professional athletes with the Houston Dynamo and the Houston Ballet.

Do you think your time at UWGB helped you to pursue this? If yes, how?

UWGB was instrumental in helping me get my dietetic internship and directly helpful in my day-to-day work now. My internship director at the University of Houston actually introduced me as “one of Karen Lacey’s students”. I was floored that one of my UWGB professors (now retired) and our program had such a reputation as far away as Houston! Given UWGB’s focus on real-world, practical assignments I felt well prepared for my internship. Beyond the internship, Dr. Pearson’s Nutritional Biochemistry class made graduate school biochemistry mostly a review, and many of Dr. Le Zhu’s assignments from Community Nutrition have come in handy in my job now. Whenever I’m creating new material, I still think of Professor Sara Wagner’s presentation requirements of having at least two forms of media to keep the audience engaged. The Nutritional Science program at UWGB is excellent and set me up for great career success.

What did you do in the year immediately after graduating?

Following graduation in December, I moved to Houston to start my dietetic internship. I completed the program, passed the RD exam, and had employment by September! While that sounds like a quick, direct route, it was four years after my first undergraduate completion so the road was more roundabout than it seems.

What is your best advice to current UWGB students?

The best advice I received heading into college was to sit within the first three rows of the class room, introduce myself to my professors, and shake their hands after the first class. While this seemed so nerdy and outside my comfort zone, it paid off in so many wonderful ways.

What was your most memorable moment as a student? 

Fellow alumnus Christina Allen coerced me into participating in the Mr. and Miss Phoenix competition. I remember being so annoyed that I had agreed to it, yet once the show started I had a ball and ended up second!

 

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