Undergraduate Student Feature: Kate Mullis, Dietetics

Kate Mullis headshot, dietetics transfer student | Food Science and Human Nutrition UF/IFASA hearty welcome to Kate Mullis, a Florida-based transfer student who is joining our undergraduate dietetics program! Kate has been an active member of the UF FSHN Club in preparation for her transfer, and in this feature, she reflects on her path to dietetics, her decision to transfer to the University of Florida, and her post-graduation plans. We’re so pleased to have her join our Food Science and Human Nutrition family!

Tell me about your journey to study dietetics. What inspired you to pursue this area?

When I was looking into careers in middle and high school, I knew I wanted to work in the medical field because of how much you can help others. I was always captivated by science more than any other subject, and when I came across the position of registered dietitian during a research project in high school, I knew it would be perfect for me.

I knew very little about dietetics then, but the longer I’ve been taking courses for my major, the more I have come to love it. I’ve always enjoyed cooking and nutrition, and the variety of career paths in dietetics, such as clinical, sports, or even consulting and private practice, is great for me as well. I’ve always been someone not able to decide on one thing! 

I think now, more than ever, people need to know the truth about food and nutrition.

Upon reflection, I wish I’d decided to become a registered dietitian earlier in high school. The rural area in which I live offers a lot of opportunities that would’ve benefitted me through Future Farmers of America and 4-H. Regardless, I love seeing my younger siblings who are involved in those clubs learn and teach me things about food and agriculture.

Kate and her family and friends sitting on grass with the UF mascot, Albert Gator.
Kate with her family and friends at a UF baseball game. From L to R: Klaire, Karoline, Albert Gator, and Caroline.

I would also credit my interest in dietetics to my desire to help others become healthier through food and agriculture, as well as through education about what we put in our bodies. Social media has a lot of false information going around about nutrition.

On the flip side, many people seem unconcerned about health and nutrition. I think now, more than ever, people need to know the truth about food and nutrition, and I truly cannot think of a better career to pursue. 

What went into your decision to transfer to UF?

For part of high school, I lived near Atlanta, GA, and I’d always planned to go to college somewhere around there. When I moved to Florida in my junior year, I instantly knew I wanted to attend the University of Florida.

I live about an hour from UF in a small town where agriculture is very influential, so the fact that UF/IFAS had the major I was looking for and is such a highly-ranked university for agricultural degrees also went into my decision. During high school, I chose to complete my pre-requisite classes at Santa Fe College and transfer to UF, so I’ve anticipated beginning classes here for years!

A variety of white coral from a biology lab.
Coral from the phylum Cnidaria, photographed in a
biology lab.
What were your biggest challenges in the transfer process, and how did you overcome them?

I was blessed to not face many issues with my transfer process, but I would say the biggest challenge I faced would be dealing with the uncertainty of not getting accepted and having all my work be for nothing. I think a lot of other transfer students can relate! I found a stronger work ethic and determination from this challenge and always did my best academically. Another challenge I encountered in community college is that it lacks a lot of social infrastructure, so finding friends and like-minded people there is a little harder than it is at UF. 

A white bowl with chickpeas, spinach, feta cheese, and a spoon.
A meal Kate prepared containing cauliflower, chicken,
spinach, chickpeas (garbanzo beans) , red onions, feta cheese, and tzatziki sauce.
You’ve been an active member of the FSHN Club as you prepare for the transfer. What has that been like?

Being involved with the FSHN Club was a great experience for me because I had a glimpse into what I was working towards. Being a member also put me around people that shared my interests! I volunteered with a couple of events during Food Week, and my involvement further solidified my excitement to begin at UF. I was very grateful to be involved and welcomed as a Santa Fe College student.

I also really appreciated the variety of guest speakers during the Club’s General Body Meetings (GBMs). Attending these GBMs gave me access to a great variety of opportunities and information that I wouldn’t have received outside the FSHN Club. I can’t wait to see how I can be involved with the Club this semester!

What do you want to do after graduation?
Hand holding up a black camera to capture a scene with grass, short trees, and blue sky.
Photography is one of Kate’s biggest hobbies. Header caption: Kate conducts a pH test on household chemicals during a chemistry lab.

After graduation, I plan to pursue my master’s degree and dietetic internship combined, then take the registration exam for dietitians. I’m interested in working in either sports nutrition or pediatric nutrition. Currently, I’m looking for volunteer experiences to help me decide which career path is a better fit! I also hope to continue running my photography business, Katherine Rachel Photography, on the side. 

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time, I work at a daycare with a two-year-old class and love it. I also enjoy cooking, spending time with family, going to UF sports games with my friends, working out at the gym, and working on my photography business. I also love traveling, even though I haven’t ventured out of the country yet. And I would be lying if I didn’t include shopping because it definitely consumes a good bit of my free time; thrift shopping is my favorite! 

If you were a food, what food would you be and why?

I think I would be a sweet potato: they’re versatile, with plenty of ways you can prepare them. They also give you lots of energy, and of course, they’re sweet!

Interested in learning more about FSHN’s Dietetics programs? Read more here and here!
A white plate and bowl with avocado, tofu, and sauce.
One of Kate’s creative dishes: Tofu bites with homemade sauce, avocados, coleslaw, and an oatmeal protein ball.
Kate and her sister hug in front of the UF football field.
Kate with her sister, Karoline, at a UF football game.
P.S. The Discover FSHN Series highlights the unique experiences of UF’s Food Science and Human Nutrition students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Want to read more about the amazing work going on in the FSHN department? See our previous features below (click on arrows to expand):
Undergraduate Students:

Shannon Mai, Dietetics
Alex Colon, Dietetics and Jenny Duong, Food Science
Jackie Shannon, Nutritional Sciences
Jennifer Jordan, Food Science
Lily Tucciarone, Dietetics
Tim Cassella, Nutritional Sciences

Graduate Students:

Savanna Curtis, Food Science (M.S.)
Carley Rusch and Matthew Beke, Nutritional Sciences (Ph.D.)
Alexa Hosey, Dietetics (MS/DI)
Vicnie Leandre, Food Science (M.S.)
Rufus Theophilus, Nutritional Sciences (Ph.D.)
Amber Fritsche, Dietetics (MS/DI)
Amy Jones, Food Science (Ph.D.)
Melissa Perez Santana, Food Science (M.S.)
Jeena Endter, Dietetics (MS/DI)

Postdoctoral Associates:

Dr. Cameron Bardsley, Food Safety
Dr. Tautvydas Shuipys, Food Safety
Dr. Felix Jimenez Rondan, Nutritional Sciences

Faculty:

Dr. Naim Montazeri, Food Science/Food Virology
Dr. Jeanette Andrade, Dietetics
Dr. Zhiyong Cheng, Nutritional Sciences
Dr. Juan Andrade Laborde, Global Nutrition
Dr. Razieh Farzad, Food Science
Dr. Beth Gankofskie, Dietetics
Dr. Anne Mathews, Nutritional Sciences
Dr. Diana Taft, Nutritional Sciences
Dr. Boce Zhang, Food Science/Food Microbiology
Dr. Cora Best, Nutritional Sciences
Dr. Katherine Thompson-Witrick, Food Science

Staff:

Sharyn Passeretti, Lab Specialist
Herschel Johnson, Manager of Student Services
Brandy Johnson, Administrative Assistant
Kohrine Counts Hazim, Dietetics Program Coordinator

Alumni:

Dr. Rebecca Gould, Dietetics, Postdoctoral Research
Dr. Becca Solch, Nutritional Sciences, Postdoctoral Research
Hannah Cooper, Dietetics, Private Practice
Dr. Richie Li, Food Science, Product Development
Doctor Brian Barrow, Nutritional Sciences, Medicine/Physician
Luciano Junoy, Food Science, Product Development

P.P.S. Learn more about FSHN’s renowned programs below!

Undergraduate Programs:
Dietetics
Food Science
Nutritional Sciences

Graduate Programs:
M.S. Dietetic Internship Program
M.S. Food Science and Human Nutrition
Ph.D. Food Science
Ph.D. Nutritional Sciences

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jessie erwin
Posted: January 24, 2023


Category: Food Science & Human Nutrition
Tags: Dietetics-undergraduate-feature, Dietitian, Discover FSHN, Discover Fshn Series, FSHN Club, Registered Dietitian, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Transfer Student, Undergraduate Dietetics Major, Undergraduate Dietetics Student Interview, Undergraduate Student, Undergraduate Student Feature


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