Throughout the fall and spring semesters, we will feature our professional mentors through a series of #MentorMonday blog posts. Stay tuned to learn more about these alumni and friends of the College of Human Ecology!
This week’s featured mentor is Katie Kage, an Assistant Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Northern Colorado.
Degree/Year/College or University:
BS/2008/Kansas State University
MS/2010/University of Nebraska-Lincoln
PhD/2012/University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Current Job Title and Location:
Assistant Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Northern Colorado
Talk briefly about your experiences in the College of Human Ecology at K-State. Specific major, any clubs you were involved in, memories that stick out to you and how your degree prepared you for your career.
While at Kansas-State I triple majored in Human Nutrition, Dietetics, and Kinesiology and found the courses to be challenging and thought-provoking. The professors in the College of Human Ecology pushed me to think outside the box and helped to develop big picture thinking which has led me to be successful in the health field. I quickly got involved on campus through the student organization Sensible Nutrition And body image Choices (S.N.A.C.) by becoming a peer educator and felt empowered knowing I was making a difference on campus. The innovative lectures and interactive labs gave me a strong knowledge on the anatomy and physiology of the human body and how nutrition and exercise impacts an individuals’ overall wellness. After graduation, I landed my first jobs as a clinical dietitian at a rehabilitation hospital and a group fitness instructor and personal training at a campus recreation center.
Please explain your current job position and how long you have been in that role/with the company?
I worked for 3 years as a Coordinator of Fitness and Wellness at the Campus Recreation Center for the University of Northern Colorado where I oversaw Personal Training, Group Fitness, Massage Therapy, Nutritional Services, and Wellness Events. I then switched to become full-time faculty at UNC and I currently am an Assistant Professor in the Nutrition and Dietetics Program. I have been in this role for three years and teach courses for our on-campus, distance, and graduate programs. I teach courses in the areas of nutrition education and counseling, clinical nutrition, and nutrition and athletic performance. I also conduct research in the areas of body image, weight bias, and nutrition education.
Touch on the benefits of a mentor/mentee relationship and the big takeaway(s) you’ve had through the program.
The mentor/mentee program allows you to learn from the experience of someone who has traveled a similar path that you are currently on so you can gain guidance and feedback on ways to be successful. Most of the opportunities I have had throughout my academic career has been because of mentors I’ve built relationships with so it is rewarding to give back and help others in the same way.
If you could give college students once piece of professional advice, what would it be?
Take advantage of the resources available to you as a student! There are always people and events at your fingertips that are there to help you grow and develop both personally and professionally so jump outside your comfort zone and learn as much as you can.