Q&A with Lacey Eaden, outstanding graduate in nutrition and food science

Portrait of Lacey
Lacey Eaden

Lacy Eaden is an outstanding spring 2022 graduate of the Colorado State University Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition majoring in nutrition and food science with a concentration in dietetics and nutrition management. Learn more below about what brought Eaden to CSU and her journey to graduation.

Where are you from and what brought you to CSU?

I was born in Omaha, Nebraska, but lived in Sarasota, Florida almost all my life. I spent my freshman year and half of my sophomore year at Texas Christian University, where I decided to pursue journalism. During this time, I was going through several personal/health issues. My physical and mental health were declining, and I felt sad and stuck. I finally realized part of the issue was that I wasn’t working towards what I truly wanted to do—be a registered dietitian. I took a semester off to address my health issues, reset, and apply to schools with top-notch nutrition programs. I started looking at schools in Colorado, because I always said I wanted to live there when I was older. After I visited CSU, I knew that Fort Collins would be my new home. I can’t really describe it, but walking on the CSU campus, talking to faculty within the Food Science and Human Nutrition department, and being in Fort Collins in general, brought me a new kind of happiness that I had never experienced before.

What obstacles have you overcome to get to graduation? How have you persevered through unforeseen circumstances?

It is very difficult to maintain good physical and mental health in college, but COVID-19 made it much harder. After my first semester at CSU (Fall 2019), COVID-19 hit. This was very difficult and disappointing because I hadn’t gotten the chance to get the full CSU experience (going to athletic events, club involvement, etc.). On top of the stress from the pandemic, my brother was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. In short, this was a time full of unknowns and it was very difficult to maintain focus on school. Although this was a very challenging time, I learned that I have the ability to succeed even through multiple hardships.

How have your academic experiences here and your professors, mentors, and advisers helped you overcome these obstacles and be successful in your major?

In all honesty, when I began my degree in nutrition, I had no idea how science-heavy it was going to be—all I knew is that I wanted to be a registered dietitian. When I found out that I needed to take biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physiology, biochemistry, etc. and pass each of them with a B or higher, slight panic ensued. I was not a very strong science student in high school. In fact, science classes were my least favorite types of classes. However, when I came to CSU, I quickly discovered that in high school I was not provided with the proper resources/effective teaching styles that I needed to be successful. I would not have been as successful without the help of my professors. All the professors that I have had at CSU have been amazing. I feel as though it is common to come across a few professors that you don’t align with throughout your college career, but this was not the case with me. Each one of them had a unique teaching style that I was able to adapt to with ease. They are all so passionate about nutrition, and it is obvious that all of them want their students not only to be successful, but also to learn as much as possible and have a true appreciation for nutrition. Because of the knowledge and skillsets they have provided me, I feel extremely confident going into my dietetic internship this summer.

Further, my adviser, Erin Strutz, was amazing. I am so thankful that she was there to help guide me through my college career. She was always there to address my concerns, share advice about specific classes, and support me. She helped me build a fantastic graduation plan, which made signing up for classes stress-free and easy.

What activities have you been most involved in?

I have served as a lead sports nutrition within the CSU Athletic Department since June of 2021. This was the coolest job, and I would highly recommend it to any student interested in sports nutrition. This job allowed me to become familiar with general food service protocols, create nutrition education materials, develop recipes, ands regularly interact with the athletes. I will genuinely miss my bosses, co-workers, staff meetings, and all the fun tasks that come with this job. This year, I had the pleasure of serving as the vice president of communications for the Food and Nutrition Club. I was in charge of the club website and social media pages. I developed nutrition education posts for our club Instagram as well as monthly newsletters for members. I am so thankful for all of the wonderful people I have met through this club, and that I was able to share nutrition education with the all students within the CSU community. I have been a regular volunteer at The FoCo Café since May of 2021.

Lacey outside with a watermelon
Lacey Eaden

The FoCo Café will always have a special place in my heart. I learned a lot pertaining to what it takes to run a restaurant, some awesome recipes, and met some amazing people (both customers and staff). Over time, I built a wonderful friendship with The FoCo Café staff. I also had the pleasure of serving as the interim operations manager, while the former operations manager, Lauren McGee, was away on vacation. I will forever value this wonderful and unique experience!

What are some accomplishments that you are most proud of during your time at CSU?

One of my biggest accomplishments at CSU is thriving academically. I truly was not expecting to be so successful. It tells me that I am in the right field, because I believe that true passion will result in success. Further, I was just recently matched to my first-choice dietetic internship, The University of Northern Colorado Dietetic Internship Program. I would have been thankful to match to any dietetic internship, but the fact that I was able to match to my first choice made me realize how much work I have put in to get to this point. I could not have done it without the amazing experiences, professors, and mentors CSU has brought me.

What will you miss most about CSU?

I will miss the little things the most—things that I felt I would always get to experience because graduation always seemed so far away. For example, my typical walks to school, waking up at 4:30 a.m. to go work with my awesome co-workers, getting to see my professors every day, talking with friends before class, and simply walking through the CSU campus. These little things made my days happier and allowed me to keep going. I will forever cherish these experiences as core memories in my mind.

What are your plans after graduating?

I will be starting my dietetic internship at the University of Northern Colorado in mid-July!

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