Kansas State University


College of Human Ecology Professional Mentoring Program

Tag: Dietetics

Mentor Monday – March 5, 2018

Throughout the academic year, we will feature our professional mentors through a series of #MentorMonday blog posts. Stay tuned to learn more about these alumni and friends of Kansas State University and the College of Human Ecology!

This week’s featured mentor is Kristi Thaete, Director of Nutrition Services at Children’s Mercy Kansas City.


Kristi Thaete – MS, RD, LD, CNSC

Degree/Year/College or University:
B.S. in Dietetics / 2002 / Kansas State University
M.S. in Dietetics / 2007 / University of Kansas Medical Center

Current Job Title and Location:
Director of Nutrition Services, Children’s Mercy Kansas City

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

I had a great experience in the College of Human Ecology!  I have very fond memories of my time at K-State. I was involved in the Student Dietetic Association and Alpha Xi Delta. Dr. Deb Canter was my advisor and she always provided supportive guidance to any question or need that I had. I completed my internship requirements through the coordinated program in Dietetics which was such a blessing for me at the time because it allowed me to complete my requirements while also staying close to home. I was able to complete the internship with the guidance and support of the program.


Please explain your current job position and how long you have been in that role/with the company?

I am the Director of Nutrition Services at Children’s Mercy Kansas City. I oversee all of the Clinical Dietitians in our hospital system. We are fortunate to have a robust staff of over 45 Dietitians working at eight different locations each day. I have been in the Director position for three years now and have worked at CMH for almost 10 years. I feel extremely proud to work for an organization that values Dietitians in the way Children’s Mercy does. Clinical Dietitians are an equal part of the multidisciplinary care team which help improve the care of children each day. Our Dietitians are passionate about children and helping them grow to be the best they can be.


Touch on the benefits of a mentor/mentee relationship and the big takeaway(s) you’ve had through the program.

I am just getting started with the mentoring program and l look forward to learning more and more as the months go on. I see a few of the big takeaways as an opportunity to connect with students as they are the future of the workforce so developing a strong relationship can help our business stay current with students and their needs as they are finishing their program. I also see an opportunity to provide guidance to someone who I may be working with someday.

If you could give college students once piece of professional advice, what would it be?

Be confident and share your experience. Employers want to know why you are the best candidate and past experiences are a good indicator of your best skills.




Travel Grant Recap – Kaley Dick (Dietetics)

My name is Kaley Dick and I am a senior at Kansas State University studying Dietetics. I have been part of the mentoring program for about a year. This last fall, I was matched up with Ruth Stemler as my mentor. Over the year we talked monthly and got to know each other’s passions, career paths, and future plans. This last summer through the mentoring travel grant, I was able to get out of Kansas to visit Ruth. Ruth currently lives in Colorado so I hopped in my car and made a 7-hour drive to see her!

Ruth Stemler is a former Wildcat! She was part of the first class to graduate in Dietetics from Kansas State University. Ever since then there is not much that she has not done in her dietetics career. While I was out in Colorado, I had the opportunity to volunteer with Cooking Matters and network within the Denver area. Before Ruth had retired, she was the director at Cooking Matters. Cooking Matters is part of an organization that is the same as “No Kid Goes Hungry” or “Share Our Strength.” While volunteering for Cooking Matters, I had the opportunity to watch classes that they taught within the community, participate in pop-up stands, and go on some grocery store tours. The teaching style is very hands on and interactive with the participants.

I also got to visit internships while I was out there. This is a dream for any dietetics student because internships are extremely competitive with about a 50% acceptance rate.  So being able to sit down with a director of a program was very fortunate. Colorado was not just volunteering and meetings, I also got to experience Colorado with Ruth! We went on walks in the mountains, visited local cooking shops, and even spent some time at a farmers market. One of my favorite parts was sitting on the porch with Ruth and David (Ruth’s husband) looking over the mountains every morning as we enjoyed our breakfast. It was a great opportunity to finally meet face-to-face with Ruth and get to know her even more than just talking on the phone. Ruth has helped me develop as a student and has shaped the way I process dietetics.

I want to give a huge thank you to everyone who made this trip possible for me, whether that was planning, financial, or time!

Thank you,
Kaley Dick

If you are interested in joining the College of Human Ecology’s Professional Mentoring Program as a mentor or mentee, CLICK HERE.

For more information regarding the travel grant program, CLICK HERE.