Stephanie is one of our National Nutrition Advisors and she is ready to support your efforts to improve your program.
Connect with Stephanie
Head over to our Training Center where you can learn about new trends from Stephanie and share your ideas and best practices with other school leaders.
1. What is it that you really do at the Alliance?
I have the privilege of working with the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program and Healthy Out-of-School Time initiative to provide expertise in the areas of food and nutrition. This may look like responding to questions by e-mail or phone, creating educational resources or providing trainings virtually or in-person, interpreting nutrition standards or analyzing products or recipes. In summary, I do a little bit of everything! I am available to help support creating healthier food environments for youth in school and out-of-school time settings, whether it be through child nutrition programs, competitive foods and beverages, local wellness policies or learning how to reward and celebrate with youth in healthy ways. However I can help support this work that is what I am here for! I love working in this field and supporting healthier environment for our youth to learn and play in!
2. What has brought you and kept you in this line of work?
I first began my work in schools by overseeing Coordinated School Health for a public school district. I then transitioned in school nutrition, mostly recently having served as a director of a school nutrition program. I firmly believe that if we can create healthier environments for youth by supporting good nutrition and regular physical activity in our communities through schools and out-of-school time settings we will be creating a healthier generation for the future! Both nutrition and physical activity supports healthy learners and by supporting this work we can give all students an equal opportunity at achieving their personal best.
3. Why schools or out-of-school time?
Schools and out-of-school time settings provide a unique opportunity to create change that impacts many students. These settings provide us with a captive audience that we can utilize to influence healthy changes during their formative years that can create healthier habits for their lifetime.
4. On the rare, almost nonexistent, occurrence when you’re not being healthy, what is your guilty pleasure?
Since backpacking in Italy a year ago a favorite treat of mine has been homemade pasta!
5. Are there any changes or developments in the school or out-of-school time health space that have caught your attention and you are excited to see continued?
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was a pivotal time for school nutrition programs, revising meal patterns and nutrition standards for school breakfast and lunch, as well as for all foods and beverages sold in schools and creating professional standards for school food service staff. It’s been exciting to be a part of the change to help support schools and out-of-school time settings understand how to make these guidelines work best in their environments and to help them be successful at supporting good nutrition in youth.
6. If you were just starting to make healthy change at your school or out-of-school time setting, what would be the first thing on your to do list?
Find my health champions! I would identify students, parents and staff that are supporters of creating a healthy environment for learners. Folks that are participating in a 5k on weekends, visiting the salad bar at lunch, carrying around their water bottle with them—those are the individuals I want to get to know to have them help motivate change and support good nutrition and physical activity for youth.
7. Do you have any “unique” physical activity practices (e.g. do you partake in roller derby)?
I enjoy running. Every year on Thanksgiving the Joyce family (nearly 25 of us) all get together to run the Feaster Five race. We get matching family shirts each year and dress up like turkeys. On more than one occasion we have accidentally taken the 10K turn and ran more than the intended 5k!
8. What is your favorite part of your job?
The kids! When I worked in schools, visiting the cafeteria during meal service was my favorite part of the job. Getting to see students eat nutritious meals that they look forward to and enjoy, makes it all worth it! They are the reason we do this work and what keeps me motivated.
Or Content Support Manager, Dana Roberts