Young Alum of the Month: Katie Vandendriessche

Name: 
Katie Vandendriessche
Title and Company: 
Registered Dietitian at Hy-Vee
Hometown: 
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Major and Graduation Date: 
Dietetics, May 2009
Major Job/Position Responsibilities: 

My main role is to provide efficient and friendly customer service at all times.  I provide consultations to customers on a variety of dietary needs, such as heart disease, diabetes, Celiac disease and food allergies, to name a few.  I also provide store tours to customers to help them make healthier food choices.  I incorporate NuVal into the store tour as a center theme to deliver the message that NuVal is a unique nutritional scoring system at Hy-Vee with a range of 1-100 – the higher the score, the better the nutrition.  You can find NuVal scores on the left side of the price tag.

 

I stay active in the community whether it be providing presentations, cooking demonstrations, health screenings at businesses or having a booth display, to name a few.  I provide comprehensive health screenings in-store to customers and then provide suggestions on how to improve their lab results, if necessary.  Another key part of the position is having food experiences where I make a recipe using a dietitian pick of the month and let customers sample it.  I also try to stay up to date on new items brought into the HealthMarket at Hy-Vee to help answer customer questions.

 

Customers like to have simple, healthy meal ideas for the week. Therefore, I have a recipe center in the store that provides recipe cards, literature and budget-friendly meals for the week that are in conjunction with the Hy-Vee corporate ad.  Soon I will be pursuing media training so I can start providing media messages to consumers on health topics via television and articles.  It is a rewarding job that focuses on making customer’s lives healthier, easier and happier.

What you like most about your job/position: 

I like the flexibility with my job because I am able to plan my own calendar of events which is ever changing.  I like the daily interaction with people, which includes both employees and customers.  For example, when someone is with a dietitian in a clinical setting, they receive diet education and are provided with meal plans, hand outs, etc.  But when he or she goes grocery shopping, it is important to have a registered dietitian available to help guide them towards healthy eating choices.  There are always new questions and requests, so this job provides new learning opportunities each and every day.

What advice would you give to current students: 

During your college years, take advantage of extracurricular activities, such as study abroad programs, internships, part-time jobs, and/or volunteer opportunities, to name a few.  These opportunities strengthen your professional character and help you stand out among others.  Based on experience, I find that the more you diversify your background, the greater chance you have to succeed in achieving your short and long-term goals.  There are likely to be bumps along the road but with a positive attitude and determination to succeed, you can get through the harder times more smoothly.