What does a day in the life of Kristin look like?
I wake up (begrudgingly too early) at 5am to feed my daughter and spend time with my family prior to heading to Salem from the Foster-Powell neighborhood in Portland. Ruby and I drive to Tigard at which time I drop her off with her grandmother for the day and I head to the Wilsonville transit to take the 1x bus to Salem. This is where I relax, have Kristin time, reflect and read for pleasure. Once I get in to the office, I spend my time in team meetings, interpreting program related federal regulation and guidance and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) memos, scheduling compliance reviews, supporting my assigned sponsors by answering program and regulation questions, attending continuing education trainings/meetings, developing and implementing strategies to enhance/increase program access and equity, pumping for my daughter, and walking around the Capitol Mall. Oh, and learning my job! I have been with the state going on a year and a half now, so there is much to learn (prior to this I was a program manager with Portland Public Schools Nutrition office). My daughter and I have also established a relationship with Meals on Wheels in our neighborhood, who we volunteer with once a week.
Above is a typical day in the office. Other days I may find myself traveling out in the field visiting a school district, Residential Child Care Institute (RCCI), or detention center for program monitoring and compliance review of the National School Lunch and/or School Breakfast Program (and other federal meal programs). This requires traveling to my assigned regions, including Josephine, Multnomah, Umatilla, and Deschutes counties.
If you could give one piece of advice to a dietetic intern, or someone who is interested in becoming an RD, what would it be?
Dive into the dietetic field you are most interested in. Regardless of the area of interest (community, food service, clinical), there will always be a need for more dietitians in the field with a passion for food and health of the human body. And, network, network, network! Volunteer in your community and meet other dietitians who have the same values and goals. The more positive and science based food messages put out into the world, the merrier.
What would you consider to be the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is to be able to support sponsors and work with partner organizations in order to collaboratively battle hunger across Oregon. The sponsors who I support are operating federal feeding programs in order to feed hungry children healthy meals throughout the calendar year. They are doing such wonderful work for the kids in their community, often with limited resources. Not only are sponsors offering an environment where students are better able to learn and excel in school by feeding the students a nutritionally sound breakfast and lunch, but, in lower economic areas, sites are also offering other federal programs such as after school snack, fresh fruit and vegetable program, and/or child and adult care feeding programs.
Student nutrition is a complicated, controversial and passionate subject for a lot of people and has received some high profile attention in the media recently. If you have not yet, I would encourage you to visit your local schools for a meal, see the wonderful foods these sponsors are offering our children each day and get involved.
What books have shaped you and your practice the most?
In my graduate work, I spent some time researching behavioral economics on school aged children, so of course Brian Wansink’s Mindless Eating had an influence in shaping my attitude towards the environment in which we eat. Other books that have also spoke to me on another level were Night by Elie Wiesel, What is the What by Dave Eggers and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. These books, although raw and a bit earth shattering, shed a light on the struggles people have faced and may continue to face around the world. Specifically, how food is rationed as a means of control and how hunger is something that is continuously fought.
Where can we find you on the web?
Professionally, you can find me on LinkedIn.
What is your favorite travel spot?
Hands down, Zihuatanejo, Mexico. You know, the place they reference in The Shawshank Redemption. My husband and I had our honeymoon in this small fishing village last October and had an incredible time. We snorkeled, mingled with the locals, ate many plates of ceviche and enjoyed the mild sun. Oh, and day dreamed of a forever life there, but, back to reality…
What do you do to de-stress or find balance in your life?
I walk. I drink wine. I talk. I read. Did I mention I drink wine? My co-workers and I will take walks around the Capitol Mall in Salem to unwind during the workweek. I walk with my husband Cameron, daughter Ruby and dog Wrex, during our time away from work. I also find that communicating about stressors detracts from them. So, my husband and I regularly have long conversations over dominos and a great bottle of wine.
How would your friends and family describe you?
Here it is, straight from the horse’s mouth (aka. my husband, Cameron. He is a little biased, so take the comments as you wish): Kristin is a very kind, thoughtful and generous person. She’s loyal, and will be there to celebrate a loved one’s success just as often as she is to provide companionship and comfort. Kristin is very observant. In public she can seem to be quiet, but that is only because she is taking in her surroundings. Last, but only because a thesis is not necessary, Kristin loves a good deal. Not a garage, yard or estate sale will go by without notice. But she doesn’t appreciate a good deal just for the sake of it- she likes to find the hidden treasures that she can capture to share with others (see point 1!).
How did you end up in Portland?
Strangely enough, I am a Northwest native. My mother grew up in Portland and moved to Washington after marriage. Our family moved back to Portland when I was a toddler. And, if you don’t count my separation during my undergraduate years (to far away Corvallis), I have lived here ever since.
What is the last book you read for fun? Would you recommend this book?
I am very intrigued by historical non-fiction, specifically related to WWII, and more often than not, you will find me reading a book of this nature (i.e. Night, Boy in the Striped Pajamas, etc.). However, I just finished reading The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, a classic depicting the horrific factory life in Chicago in the beginning of the twentieth century, which I have been meaning to read for awhile. This book details poverty, disease and the disgusts of the slaughterhouse. If you have yet to read it, I would strongly encourage you. This is another book I will add to the list of literature that has shaped me as a person, as well as my beliefs surrounding nutrition and public health.