Brittney Sly – Providing students with lifelong lessons and skills through mentorship

Food Science and Human Nutrition faculty member Brittney Sly smiles outside of the Gifford Building

After several years of involvement with the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State University, two-time alumna Brittney Sly is beginning this year as a full-time, assistant professor. Sly looks to use her past experiences at CSU to foster an inclusive, collaborative classroom and environment to develop nutrition, hospitality, and public health professionals.

Tell us a bit about yourself!  

I am originally from rural Michigan but have lived in Colorado since 2002. I received my B.S. from CSU in dietetics back in 2006 and became a registered dietitian nutritionist after completing a dietetic internship with the University of Northern Colorado. I then received an MPH from the Colorado School of Public Health in 2014 with a focus on global health and health disparities. I completed my Ph.D. in food science and nutrition from CSU in 2021. Outside of academia, I have a teenage daughter, and three fur babies that I love spending time with. I also enjoy traveling, gardening, cooking, being outside – hiking, skiing, rafting, sleeping in a hammock – crafting, reading, and chatting with friends and family. 

What brought you to Food Science and Human Nutrition at CSU? 

I have been involved with the department for a number of years, first as an internship preceptor for the Coordinated Master’s Program in Dietetics, and then as an instructor. I love being a part of this amazing department and am so happy to now be a full-time contributor. 

What are your research and/or teaching interests, and how did you get interested in that topic?  

I have been working with students in different capacities for the last fifteen years, as a supervisor, nutrition counselor, mentor, and educator. I absolutely enjoy teaching and mentoring students! The energy and passion that young pre-professionals bring to a space is so inspiring. My new faculty role allows me to continue to work with students in new capacities, which is so exciting to me. I teach a variety of courses that inform mostly those students aspiring to be registered dietitian nutritionists, but also students preparing for careers in hospitality management and public health. As a nutrition and public health professional, the courses I teach are a natural fit. My research and service-related interests are focused on examining the systemic causes of malnutrition, specifically in Sub-Saharan Africa. I give particular attention to strategies and opportunities that empower women, working toward the goal of increased equity in health services, food access, and education. 

What is your teaching philosophy? 

I believe that education should be delivered in an inclusive environment that fosters diverse views and perspectives, while providing opportunities for students to learn, reflect, and grow. My approach to teaching focuses on the process of learning through practical application, by addressing the different levels of knowledge. I also challenge my students to interpret their knowledge and experiences in forming their own professional judgement and standards, while always considering the perspectives of others. The intended goal is to provide a place for students to find their professional attributes and explore how they can then benefit their field, society, and the greater world.   

What is your favorite thing about CSU and the campus?  

I have been a part of the CSU community for 20 years and have no intention of leaving anytime soon. As such, there are a number of things about CSU that I appreciate, but the culture of collaboration resonates with me the most. 

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.