Young Alum of the Month: Steph Elsbernd

Steph Elsbernd
Title and Company: 
Food Science Graduate Teaching Assistant at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Decorah, IA
Major and Graduation Date: 
Dietetics (Spanish minor), May 2012
Major Job/Position Responsibilities: 

For the teaching assistant part of my role, I oversee four cooking lab sections per week and grade lab reports for each student. In my role as a graduate student, I conduct research on methods to increase vegetable consumption in elementary school children. Specifically I am investigating if having vegetables available while kids are waiting in line to get the rest of their food will increase their overall consumption of vegetables at lunch. I am responsible for managing the undergraduates that work for me, planning for days that we go to the school to collect consumption data, analyzing the data we collect, and writing and defending my thesis.

What you like most about your job/position: 

My favorite part of being a graduate student is having a project to call my own. When things go right, I know I can be proud of myself. When things don’t go as smoothly, I have all the information I need to track back and see where things can be improved. Of course, it is always fun to interact with kids, too. I also really like being a teaching assistant because in the process of explaining ideas to students, I gain a better understanding of the material myself.

What advice would you give to current students: 

I would say that you should try hard in school, but also get involved in things that aren’t necessarily related to your academics. Volunteer, serve on committees, have hobbies! These are all things that set you apart from everyone else that has your degree!