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 health care 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.

Amy Giffin

BS’09 • Coming from a family of cheesemakers, 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 freshman-year nutrition class, 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.

Ellya 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 fieldwork 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.

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, Wisconsin, in search of their own American dream. She attended CALS, majoring in nutritional science, and she later earned a master’s degree in public health at 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.

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.

Amber Canto BS’07

Amber Canto BS'07

Amber Canto BS’07

As a poverty and food security specialist, Amber Canto supports county educators and state-level partners dedicated to improving access to healthy food for Wisconsinites with limited incomes. Her CALS degree is in dietetics. She also holds a master’s in public health from the University of North Carolina and is finishing her Ph.D. in the UW–Madison Department of Population Health. Before joining UW–Extension, Canto worked as a nutrition consultant with UNICEF in the Dominican Republic, where she coordinated infant and young child feeding interventions on the Dominican–Haitian border. She was introduced to the Dominican Republic as CALS student. “One of my most memorable experiences was a summer study abroad there,” she says. “I met my future husband and solidified my desire to address nutritional disparities and apply a local-global framework to my career.”

Catch up with . . . Beth Zupec-Kania

THE SPECIAL DIET SHE WAS USING ON CHILDREN WITH EPILEPSY WAS CHANGING LIVES—but Beth Zupec-Kania BS’81 didn’t know it would change her own until she got a call from Hollywood producer Jim Abrahams back in the mid-1990s.

As a dietitian at Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee, Zupec-Kania and her team had been using the ketogenic diet, a high-fat, low-carb diet—think Atkins—shown to greatly reduce or eliminate seizures. And writer/producer Abrahams (Airplane!, The Naked Gun), whose young son Charlie had been saved by the diet, wanted to partner with her to spread the word.

Charlie had begun having seizures at 12 months, and after going through a half-dozen medications and brain surgery still was having up to 200 seizures a day. “He lived in a car seat,” says Zupec-Kania. “It was the only safe place they could put him because he would have a seizure and just collapse.”

Through his own research Abrahams learned about the diet and took Charlie for treatment at Johns Hopkins, one of relatively few hospitals that offered it. Almost immediately the boy stopped seizing and after a few years was weaned off the diet.

Abrahams formed The Charlie Foundation to promote access to the diet and soon heard that Children’s Hospital in his native Milwaukee had been another early adopter. Abrahams reached out to Zupec-Kania and her team to help them scale up use and start training physicians, nurses and dietitians at other hospitals.

Zupec-Kania found that work so rewarding that eventually she joined The Charlie Foundation full-time, where she writes journal articles and develops online support materials about the diet along with training healthcare professionals. Her work takes her all around the United States and much of the world, including Saudi Arabia (see photo), the Dominican Republic and Germany.

No one knows why this diet works or why it has permanent effects, right?

That’s right, no one knows why the diet affects seizures. But many scientists are trying to solve this mystery—they believe that a healing occurs in the brain. At UW–Madison, physician Carl Stafstrom has done research on this and he’s also treating patients with the diet.

Is the ketogenic diet just for kids?

No. We are finding it works in adults as well. The problem with adults is that compliance with any type of diet is
difficult.

Why is the diet still not a treatment of first resort?

It’s much easier to prescribe a medication, and if clinicians are going to use the diet, they need to have a team in place—a neurologist, a nurse and a dietitian—to initiate and manage it. The diet is not started at home, it’s started in the hospital under medical supervision. Also, there isn’t a treatment code for the diet, so insurance reimbursement is really poor. That’s been a barrier as well.

When you first met Jim, did you feel at all starstruck?

I did! I remember sitting there when he called, thinking “Is this Hollywood producer really talking to me?” But the more I talked to him, the more he seemed like just a regular guy from Milwaukee because he has that familiar accent. He is the nicest man—the most warm, kind, caring person.

More information at charliefoundation.org.