Interdisciplinary nutrition research and teaching: Q&A with Megan Mueller

Megan Mueller standing in front of greenery.
Megan Mueller

Megan Mueller is an assistant professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State University. Learn more about why she came to CSU and her research interests in obesity prevention in children and families.

1. What brought you to the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at CSU? 

I really liked the interdisciplinary nature of the research and teaching in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. I was also very attracted by the commitment of FSHN and CSU to community outreach. It was clear to me that the faculty in my department really prioritize the public impact of their work, and I really value that. It’s also exciting to be in a department that has so many interesting projects going on. I get to be a part of a larger effort to enable people to achieve healthier lives and to train the next generation of leaders in nutrition!

2. What are your research interests, and how did you get into that topic? 

My research focuses on obesity prevention in children and families, with an emphasis on restaurants and the food environment. I am especially interested in identifying strategies that encourage restaurants to offer healthier options and that enable families to eat healthier when dining out at restaurants. I decided to focus on the restaurant setting because restaurant meals contribute substantially to excess calorie intake, a third of adults and children eat out at fast food restaurants daily, and approximately half of the US food dollar is spent on food outside of the home. The restaurant industry is also a major driver of the food system, so what is served in restaurants can impact the natural environment as well. It’s a really rich and interesting research area to focus on.

3. What’s your teaching philosophy? 

My goal in the classroom is to create an environment where students actively engage in course material and take ownership over their own learning. A central theme in my coursework will be to enable students to further develop agency in their learning through activities such as student-led class discussions, group projects, data analysis exercises, and self-assessments that allow the student to reflect on their own progress in the course. Integral to this theme is an acknowledgement that both students and instructors bring a wealth of experiences, knowledge, and diverse perspectives. Creating an environment where both students and the instructor have a space to share that information will only further enhance the collective understanding of a subject.

4. What’s your favorite thing about campus? 

I love how walkable and green the campus is, and how close CSU is to great hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. The fact that the Aspen Grille is a student run, full-service restaurant on campus with really delicious food is an added bonus too.

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition is part of the College of Health and Human Sciences.