Graduate student recognized with prestigious nutrition award

Kara McIver
Kara McIver

Kara McIver, a graduate student in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State University, has received the Colorado Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Outstanding Student in a Coordinated Program Award.  This award is presented to students who are enrolled in an accredited dietetics education program while demonstrating academic and professional success.

The Outstanding Dietetics Student Award program recognizes the emerging leadership and achievement of students in dietetics education programs and encourage their participation in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Academic achievements

After completing her bachelor’s degree in communications from Purdue University, McIver was admitted to CSU’s master’s program in food science and nutrition. She currently has a 3.97 GPA, volunteers for the Food Bank of Larimer County, and is a founder of the Judy Project aimed to provide nutrition education to adults.

“Kara is an outstanding student academically and has demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities in a wide variety of areas,” said Leslie Cunningham-Sabo, professor in Food Science and Human Nutrition and one of McIver’s nominators.

Teaching during the pandemic

McIver working in a lab.
McIver working in a research lab.

While working to complete her master’s degree, McIver has been the graduate teaching assistant for the nutrition and foods laboratory course for four semesters. She has also performed dietary analyses and individual patient education under the supervision of a registered dietitian.

During the transition to remote classes in the spring 2020 semester as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, McIver dedicated her spring break to helping transition the lab class to an online format and the results were “stellar” said Cunningham-Sabo.

This year she has taught the class in a hybrid fashion, including recording one of three lectures never before delivered online. She also mentored two GTAs who are new instructors, showing “flexibility, leadership, and commitment to excellent teaching,” said Cunningham-Sabo.

Nutrition research

McIver’s research is a nutritional biochemistry project focused on a condition called lipedema, a painful chronic inflammatory condition affecting appendages involving cells that store fat called adipocytes. Because inflammation is a common characteristic of most non-infectious chronic diseases, her findings may have important implications for better understanding adipocyte biology and lipedema pathophysiology.

“Kara has been one of leaders among the current cohort of graduate students,” said Chris Melby, professor in Food Science and Human Nutrition, who helped nominate McIver for the award. “She is very friendly, maintains a positive demeanor, interacts well with peers and faculty and has contributed greatly to the department. She has been a student leader devoted to increasing the diversity, equity, and inclusive nature of our department.”

About the Colorado Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

The CAND is a non-profit professional organization representing Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, Dietetic Technicians, Registered and dietetic students in Colorado. CAND is an affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the nation’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals.

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