In the Field: Alumni making a difference through dietetics
Caitlyn Busche BS’14
Caitlyn Busche was drawn to dietetics because of its “relatable nature,” she says; she enjoys working in a rare branch of healthcare where patients can see, feel and understand both the processes and results of treatment plans. At Chicago’s Northwestern Medicine, she is able to do just that. There Busche works with oncology patients to improve chemotherapy and radiation-related side effects through dietary modifications. As an undergraduate at CALS, Busche worked as a lab research assistant, which taught her how fascinating and exciting nutrition research could be. These early experiences gave her the foundation in research that has been instrumental in providing evidence-based medical nutrition therapy to her patients in the ever-changing field of oncology nutrition.
Mascha Davis BS’06
Born in Ukraine, Mascha Davis fled with her family to the United States as a political refugee in 1990. Her family settled in Madison, Wisc. in search of their own American dream. There she attended CALS, majoring in nutritional science, and she later earned a master’s degree in public health the University of California, Los Angeles. As a refugee, Davis has always been drawn toward helping impoverished nations, an interest that led her to pursue a career abroad. She worked in Geneva, Switzerland, and in five different African countries where she focused on programs preventing malnutrition. Today Davis is putting her years of education and experience to great use through her own private dietitian practice, Nomadista Nutrition. There she educates clients on such topics as healthy eating and weight loss. She also is working on a book, Food Myths, that will be released at the end of 2017. Davis works part-time as a dietitian for Satellite Healthcare in Los Angeles, and she is a featured health writer for the Huffington Post.
Amy Giffin BS’09
Coming from a family of cheese makers, it was no surprise that Amy Giffin began her college career in food science. She planned to follow in her family’s footsteps, but after a guest dietitian spoke at her nutrition class in freshman year, she had a change of heart. “I realized that I also wanted to apply the science of food and nutrition to help others,” says Giffin. Now she manages the menus of students in the Sheboygan Area School District as the school nutrition supervisor. There she has the opportunity to work with students to develop meals that are nutritious and tasty. In her free time Giffin is on a quest to make cooking “fun and fearless” through her nutritional food blog, Eat Right Cook Tonight (eatrightcooktonight.com). Giffin is thankful for the inspiration and education she received at CALS and for the lifelong Badger community that comes with any UW–Madison degree, she says.
Elya Hillebrand BS’10
Elya Hillebrand’s path through dietetics led her to a successful career in the military. After earning a bachelor’s degree in dietetics from CALS, Elya Hillebrand joined the U.S. Army. During her six years of service, she earned a master’s degree in dietetics from Baylor University and held many nutrition-related positions, including, most recently, director of food and nutritional services. In that position Hillebrand discovered her knack for management, and she recently decided to leave the military to pursue a career in food service management.
Bridget Reineking BS’04
As the global associate director for training and development at BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc., a California-based biotech company specializing in drugs treating genetically based diseases, Bridget Reineking is responsible for educating the company’s global medical affairs team. In this position she ensures that employees are trained as experts in BioMarin’s many projects and are able to accurately communicate the company’s scientific advancements to the public. During her time at CALS, Reineking gravitated toward positions involving education and development. “It is a beautiful thing to travel down the path of knowledge with an individual,” says Reineking. In the midst of a successful career, Reineking looks back and attributes her strong communication and organizational foundation to her time spent at CALS.
Samantha Schmaelzle BS’10 MS’13
After spending seven years completing both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in dietetics and human nutrition at CALS, Samantha Schmaelzle couldn’t imagine starting her career anywhere else. Numerous internships and research opportunities, including field work in Zambia, opened up countless job opportunities for Schmaelzle after graduation, and ultimately landed her a job with UW Health. As an outpatient clinical dietitian with UW Health’s Surgical Weight Management Clinic, Schmaelzle works to educate morbidly obese patients on nutritional needs and lifestyle changes in preparation for bariatric surgery. The long-term, personal work with patients makes their progress and recovery very rewarding, says Schmaelzle. “My patients are my favorite part of my job,” she says. “Their motivation, energy, successes and positive changes keep me going every day.”
Patrick Solverson BS’09 MS’12
Could blackberries help cure obesity? Patrick Solverson is on the path to find out. As a researcher with the USDA’s Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland, Solverson studies various diets and their effects on human health. Currently his focus is on anthocyanins, compounds found in blue and purple fruits and vegetables, and their potential to curb the effects of high-fat diets. Solverson’s passion for dietetics stems from his own struggle with weight as a child. He learned the benefits of nutrition and exercise early on, which changed his life and sparked his interest in this field. “Nutrition is the staple of life every single one of us must address multiple times a day,” notes Solverson. “It’s unavoidable, powerful, and if harnessed correctly, can be so rewarding.” In his free time Solverson enjoys staying fit through sports and weight lifting, and staying current in research by reading science articles with his cat, Allister.
Bridget Stroup BS’11
Bridget Stroup chose a career in dietetics because of her passion for learning and improving lives. Stroup currently is a registered dietitian earning her Ph.D. in nutritional sciences at CALS while working in the lab of professor Denise Ney. There Stroup’s research concerns phenylketonuria, or PKU, a disease that restricts processing of the common amino acid phenylalanine, which is found in protein-rich foods such as meat, dairy and grains. Individuals with PKU have limited food choices and must receive key nutrients from unpleasant-tasting amino acid medical foods that often come with equally unpleasant side effects. Stroup is working to develop and promote an alternative, known as glycomacropeptide (GMP) medical foods. GMP medical foods, made from whey protein, offer a low-phenylalanine, whole protein medical food option that is effective and more palatable. Stroup loves the collaboration and constant educational journey that her research at CALS provides.
Michelle Trumpy BS’03
Michelle (Flatt) Trumpy settled on dietetics as a profession while she was still a teenager. “I was referred to a registered dietitian in high school to improve my own nutrition and quickly realized dietetics would be a great career choice for me,” she says. “The mix of science, nutrition and helping people was a perfect fit.” After completing an internship and working as a clinical dietitian at UW Hospital, Trumpy earned a master’s degree in public health from the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. As a registered dietitian at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, The Emily Program and with two public school districts, Trumpy has done extensive work with children and families. She now serves as the administrative manager at the Dakota County Public Health Department in Minnesota. A recipient of the Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year Award from the Minnesota Dietetic Association in 2011, Trumpy remains an active volunteer for her profession with the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics, the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and Feeding Matters, a national nonprofit that addresses pediatric feeding disorders.This article was posted in In the Field, Summer 2017 and tagged Amy Giffin, Bridget Reineking, Bridget Stroup, Caitlyn Busche, dietetics, Elya Hillebrand, Gilliane Davison, Grow Summer 2017, In the Field, Mascha Davis, Michelle Trumpy, Patrick Solverson, Samantha Schmaelzle.