From the left: Rahma Rekik, Sarah Novelly, Blake Brie, Elizabeth Carpenter, Amanda Crane, Rebecca Vander Veer, Alex Cook, Lauren Lett, Lucy Song, Bonnie Alexander, Rachel Snyder, and Mallory Foster.
Welcome to the Class of 2015
Bonnie graduated cum laude from Clemson University in May of 2014, majoring in Food Science with a concentration in Dietetics and Human Nutrition and a minor in Chemistry. She achieved the President’s List her last four semesters while at Clemson. As an undergraduate student, she was active in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Club, worked at the campus fitness center, and volunteered at the Greenville Memorial Hospital. She was involved in Creative Inquiry for three years where she worked with the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, Farm to School, and Supermarket Matters as well as other various projects. The summer after her junior year, Bonnie interned with Edible Upcountry Magazine in Greenville, SC, where she was able to gain valuable experience in community nutrition. She helped research and revise The Carrot, a rails-to-trails food guide. She was responsible for researching and visiting more than fifty local restaurants and food establishments that were located within a mile of the trail. She also was published in an issue of Edible Upcountry. As a senior in high school, she spent a year in Argentina with Rotary Youth Exchange, where she developed a love of food and its role in culture and the Spanish language. Bonnie loves animals, fitness, food, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. She is looking forward to living and experiencing Charlottesville and the surrounding historical areas including Washington, D.C. where her brother is attending law school.
Blake is originally from New York City and graduated cum laude from Tulane University in May of 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. Towards the middle of her college career, she became increasingly fascinated by the physiological, external, and mental effects of proper nutrition and exercise. Upon graduation, Blake found an opportunity to shadow and assist a Clinical Nutritionist with a specialty in weight loss. Together, they built customized diet plans and fitness goals to help her clients achieve sustainable healthy lifestyles. Wanting to delve into the relationship between diet and disease – particularly cancer – Blake moved on to work full-time within a variety of departments at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for three and a half years, and the New York University (NYU) Clinical Cancer Center for two, while attending NYU’s Clinical Nutrition program part-time. She has also enjoyed volunteering in the renal unit at New York Presbyterian Hospital, with children at their extracurricular healthy cooking program, at the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty where she led weekly health discussions, and writing articles for a dietitian’s blog. Blake is looking forward to moving to a smaller city and joining a more relaxed community, and is excited to discover Charlottesville’s unique, cultural attractions. She is eager to gain experience in clinical dietetics, and plans to work as a dietitian specializing in oncology. In Blake’s free time, she enjoys cooking, trying new restaurants, writing, exercising, the outdoors, and spending time with friends.
Elizabeth graduated summa cum laude from University of North Carolina at Greensboro in May of 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics. She has worked at the local Virginia WIC office as a Nutritionist for two years and has developed a great appreciation for the Charlottesville community. Education is one her favorite aspects of nutrition, whether it is creating educational materials or counseling clients. As a nutritionist, she has educated moms and caretakers about nutrition topics related to pregnancy and child development, as well as promoted and encouraged breast feeding when counseling pregnant women. While in school, she volunteered with the Boys & Girls Club of Winston Salem, working with children to start and maintain a vegetable garden. The children were then able to prepare their “home grown” vegetables to make fun healthy snacks in the club kitchen. Her nutrition-related interests include infant and childhood nutrition, breastfeeding, and plant-strong diets. She looks forward to spending time in the hospital and expanding her knowledge and appreciation for other nutrition-related areas. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, cooking, gardening, biking and exploring the beauty of central Virginia.
Alex graduated from Michigan State University in May of 2014 with a degree in Dietetics. She aspires to be an educator and serve the public with knowledge of prevention and wellness; she is looking forward to a career that is able to benefit people of all ages, cultures, and circumstances. While pursuing her degree Alex gained outstanding teaching and professional experiences by serving as a department aide and consulting with faculty. She also served as a kitchen assistant at a local child development center where she discovered the joy of helping children learn. In service to her community and her family’s church she created the curriculum and activities for a summer program to address the interests of local youth. Her family’s history of dairy farming has given her an increased appreciation for whole foods and the benefits they can provide. To learn more about sustainable agriculture Alex spent time volunteering at the MSU Student Organic Farm and hopes to further her knowledge of these sustainable practices in the future. Alex also hopes to strengthen her knowledge of the food allergies and intolerances that affect so many. In her free time Alex enjoys being near to nature, experimenting in the kitchen, and exercising outdoors. She especially has a passion for international food culture and likes to explore health conscious variations of dishes from around the globe. She is looking forward to life in a new part of the country and to becoming a part of the Charlottesville community.
Amanda graduated with honors from the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH this past May with a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics. Originally from Derry, New Hampshire, Amanda’s passion for nutrition began prior to enrolling at UNH and becoming a Registered Dietitian has been her primary goal. During her undergraduate years Amanda filled her time with extracurricular and nutrition-related field experiences. Academic opportunities provided experience as a research assistant to the College Health and Nutrition Assessment Survey as well as clinical exposure during a six-week practicum at Concord Hospital. As an incoming freshman, Amanda participated in a pre-orientation volunteer program where she assisted the greater Durham community. She then served as one of three new staff members her sophomore year and was later selected to the role of Senior Staff her junior and senior years. Amanda also worked as a dietary aide to Camp Carefree, a summer camp for children with Diabetes. Amanda worked alongside the Registered Dietitian at the camp to ensure all nutritional needs were met for the campers. Her senior year, Amanda took on the role as a student teacher where she created and implemented nutrition lessons and activities for elementary-school children. Amanda also served as the Co-Leader to a peer education group called Students Promoting Information about Nutrition where she directed members, restructured existing programs and provided nutrition education to students and community members. In her free time, Amanda enjoys any outdoor activity, reading and spending time with family and friends
Mallory graduated summa cum laude from Virginia Tech in May 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise, concentration in Dietetics and minor in Psychology. During her undergraduate career she received academic scholarships for her commitment to the dietetics profession, including the Brenda Harmon Rohe Dietetic Scholarship and the Carol B Papillon Dietetic Scholarship. Outside of her coursework, Mallory worked as a diet office clerk at a local hospital where she explained diets and suggested meal options for patients. At this job she found a love for working with patients and really enjoyed being in a clinical environment. For three summers she also volunteered at Carilion Clinic’s Camp Too Sweet, a camp for children with diabetes. At these camps she helped kids with blood glucose checks and carb counting. During her senior year Mallory volunteered alongside Montgomery County Public Schools where she served as a team leader for a new sports nutrition initiative. As part of this initiative she helped to design resources and handouts to be used in schools. Mallory was also a student nutrition counselor during her senior year where she met one-on-one with clients to discuss nutrition related concerns. Throughout her undergraduate career she had the opportunity to shadow several dietitians where she realized her love for clinical nutrition. In her free time, Mallory enjoys being outside, hiking, biking, and spending time with family.
Lauren’s zeal for nutrition and health made her career decision easy. In 2012, she earned her Bachelors of Science in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from The Ohio State University. While in school, Lauren made the Dean’s List for achieving academic excellence by working hard in her studies. She volunteered for a leadership program called Young Life as a mentor to high school teens. Lauren also worked throughout college as a nutrition assistant at The Wexner Medical Center and later as a high school Freshman Cheerleading Coach. In the summer of 2009, she took a trip to Pretoria, South Africa to spend time with underprivileged children, helping with meals and childcare. The following summer, Lauren was invited to Duke Children’s Healthy Life Styles Program as an intern. She designed the North Carolina State Fair’s health booth, providing nutrition education for the community. She also spent time with the adolescent patients of the program, falling in love with the counseling aspect of eating disorders and weight loss. Upon graduation, Lauren took a position for Women, Infants, and Children as a dietetic technician. Continuing in her passion for helping others, she invests her time as a Nutrition Coach to provide education and meal planning to her clients. Above all, Lauren’s deepest significance is her relationship with God. As a people person, she values time spent with her family and friends. Lauren also enjoys being in the sun, a good cup of coffee, and training hard in her local Crossfit gym.
Sarah earned a Bachelor of Science degree in design from The Ohio State University. While working in the design field, Sarah realized she wanted to pursue a career encompassing her interests of health and food, as well as help others. Her passion for nutrition led her to return to school to obtain her Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition from Drexel University in Philadelphia. Here she received the Katherine Marsh Endowed Scholarship awarded to outstanding students in dietetics. As a graduate student, Sarah worked as an assistant educator for the USDA funded Eat.Right.Now, nutrition education program. Here she was able to provide nutrition education and cooking classes to children within the Philadelphia School District. While pursuing her master’s she was an intern at Drexel’s Center for Integrated Nutrition and Performance where she was heavily involved in various nutrition initiatives on campus working with the study body and Drexel athletics. Interning at Drexel, Sarah conducted weekly counseling sessions to members of Drexel’s Weight Maintenance Program and composed various nutrition handouts. She volunteered many hours at Virtua Health Systems assisting patients post-operatively and observing cardiac catheterizations. Sarah’s area of interest is in pediatric nutrition, specifically with gastrointestinal diseases. Throughout school she has worked as a server at a fine dining steakhouse and wine bar. Her interests include hiking, running, being outdoors, reading, traveling and spending time with friends and family.
Rahma is a May 2014 Cornell University graduate who earned a degree in Nutritional Sciences with a concentration in Dietetics. During her time at Cornell, she was on the Dean’s list for earning a GPA higher than 3.5. Originally from Tunisia, Rahma developed a passion for science and nutrition in high school while surrounded by a male-dominated scientific field, and decided to pursue her college education in the United States far from her family. She started her journey at Northern Virginia Community College where she earned an Associate of Science and was a presidential scholar for three consecutive semesters for obtaining a 4.0 GPA. Rahma was very active in both colleges. During her time at Cornell, she gained extensive food service experience by becoming a student manager for seven units within Cornell Dining. This position allowed her to hone her management, communication, and leadership skills while integrating her dietetics training in practice. Rahma also joined Cornell University Dietetic Association and helped organize events that played an important role in the development of future Dietetics students. In Northern Virginia Community College, Rahma was involved with the Student Government Association where she played an important role improving the student life on campus through organizing events and building community. The summer after her junior year, Rahma interned at a diet center and private hospital in Kuwait where she discovered her passion in Clinical Nutrition. Furthermore, her 18 month old sister triggered her interest in pediatric nutrition. In her free time, Rahma enjoys knitting, cooking, baking, and yoga. When the weather permits, she also likes picnics and being outdoors.
Rachel graduated from Bluffton University in May of 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Food and Nutrition and a concentration in Dietetics. She also received a minor in Public Health. Rachel was recognized as the Distinguished Scholar in Dietetics for her graduating class and was selected as a member for the Pi Delta Honor Society in her senior year. Throughout her years as an undergraduate, Rachel was active in Bluffton University’s Nutrition Association. She served as a chair member her freshman and sophomore years and moved into leadership positions her junior year as treasurer and senior year as president. Throughout her time with the Nutrition Association she would coordinate volunteering for members at Churches United Food Pantry in Lima, Ohio, plan and assemble care packages for the student body, and manage and coordinate a community Spaghetti Dinner with all proceeds going to Churches United Food Pantry. Growing up Rachel always had a passion for food which eventually would lead to her interest in nutrition. In her senior year, her passion for clinical dietetics would grow with her weekly clinical visits to St. Rita’s Hospital in Lima, Ohio. Alongside Rachel’s interest in dietetics, she loves exercising, traveling, spending time with family and her dog, downhill skiing and soaking up some sun.
Lucy graduated from the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State University in May 2014 with a double major in Nutritional Sciences and Hospitality Management and a double minor in International Studies and Japanese. She was the valedictorian and student marshal representing the Hospitality Management major at graduation. Her honors include the College of Health and Human Development Alumni Recognition for Student Excellence Award, membership in the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, and Dean’s List every semester. In her undergraduate years, Lucy studied abroad in Japan and Spain and also did internships at the Penn State Conference Center Hotel in Conference Services and at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Nutrition Services through Aramark. Lucy was a student leader in two organizations at Penn State. As a Merchandise and Supply Logistics Captain for the Penn State Dance MaraTHON, she worked with other students in the world’s largest student-run philanthropy to raise funds for the fight against pediatric cancer. She also served as a Conference Team leader, Bible Study leader, and mentor in Cru, a Christian organization. In the community, Lucy taught Sunday school at a local church to high school students for two years. She loves children and her dream is to develop programs to fight childhood malnutrition. In her spare time, Lucy loves spending time with friends, traveling, singing, photography, food, and being outside. She is very excited to begin the next chapter of her life in Charlottesville!
Rebecca Vander Veer
Rebecca graduated magna cum laude from Samford University with a Bachelor of Science Fellow degree in Nutrition and Dietetics and a minor in Latin. She was on the Dean’s List each semester of college, and received the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences’ academic scholarship award for two years in a row. She was also nominated by Samford University to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. Her great love of learning led her to become a member of the rigorous University Fellows program at Samford, which gave her the opportunity to study the Western intellectual tradition of philosophy, science, math, and religion. Through the University Fellows program, she studied abroad in Italy (Rome, Florence, and Sorrento) for three weeks during her sophomore year, and one week in Washington, D.C., studying how the Western intellectual tradition influenced the founding of America. She completed two undergraduate research projects, including one which tested the effect of macronutrient composition of breakfast on daily kilocalorie intake. For the past year, Rebecca has played a part in developing a program in which Samford nutrition students volunteer to make workout recovery smoothies for student-athletes. She has been active in Samford’s music program, playing the flute and piccolo in the marching band, wind ensemble, and basketball band, and serving as piccolo section leader her senior year. In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys reading, singing, visiting museums, and dancing ballet.