Degree/Year: B.S., Dietetics, 2008
Current Employer: Providence Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center
Title: Family and consumer science teacher
I am a clinical dietitian at Providence Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, a sub-acute rehabilitation center. I oversee the nutritional care of more than 120 clients with many different conditions including enternal feedings, wounds, kidney disease, and diabetes. I love meeting clients and hearing their life stories. Every morning at breakfast I visit each of our facilities’ dining rooms to see how breakfast is and how the clients’ days are going. The relationships I’ve built with the clients make getting up every morning to go to work completely worth it. It is unbelievable how much wisdom I have gained from my residents!
My advice to current students would be to gain the perspective of one of my favorite sayings, “The best way out is always through.” When you’re having a bad day at work or things aren’t going your way, things will get better. Push through it and keep your eyes on the task at hand. Believe it or not, you’ll make it through and everything will be all right.
The part of my Bradley experience that helped me the most, without a doubt, was meeting Dr. Nina Collins. She is an incredible educator, mentor, therapist, and friend. She helped me realize untapped potential that I was not even aware of while encouraging me to successfully become a dietitian. She was the reason I came to Bradley, and my experience there would not have been the same without her.
During my senior year, I was in Dr. Collins’ foods lab. We had to write a lab report evaluating the changes of different recipes of pound cake over a week. I had each slice bagged individually and then consolidated them in another larger bag in my room waiting to be evaluated. I’m Type 1 Diabetic, and the night before my partner and I were going to meet to evaluate the pound cake, my blood sugar went dangerously low. In a panic, I scrambled to find whatever I could to bring my blood sugar up. What was the closest thing to me? The pound cake. I woke up the next morning only to find seven or eight baggies scattered on my bed and my pound cake missing. So much for that lab report! Needless to say, my lab partner wasn't too happy with me, but, luckily, Dr. Collins understood.
Degree/Year: B.S., FCS-T,1971
Title: Retired family and consumer science teacher
I have taught in all areas of FCS and feel it’s very important for education majors to make sure they have a well-rounded FCS background in all areas of the curriculum. If not, FCS teachers may end up teaching a course they may not have anticipated. Without a good background, they may be unsuccessful and end up hurting their school’s FCS program. In these days of budget cuts, we need to promote our curriculum whenever and wherever possible. Market your programs by including parents, community members, and school administrators.
I highly recommend including service education in the FCS curriculum. I think all educators should join and actively participate in professional organizations such as the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, as well as attend conferences and seminars to stay updated on our profession.
What I loved most about teaching in Woodstock, Ill., School District 200 during my 34 years was getting to know my students, learning about their lives and families, and helping them through challenges they faced. I always enjoyed writing letters of recommendation for my students for colleges, scholarships, and jobs. I experienced much joy when many of my students received awards and scholarships, including one student who received a Golden Apple Scholarship and several students who were semifinalists for that award. I returned for a long-term substitute job last fall and winter in my old classroom in the FCS department managing the Child Day Care curriculum and the Woodstock Blue Streak Preschool. In my retirement, besides substituting, I keep busy in two Sweet Adeline choruses, sew many quilts for charity raffles and auctions, and travel with my husband, most recently to Australia, New Zealand, and Nova Scotia.
The best advice I have for students is, “Don’t limit yourself.” I had no intention of being an FCS teacher when I started at Bradley, but I eventually fell into the curriculum and found it very rewarding. I had a great career including being named Teacher of the Year by the Illinois Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, and writing all the annotations for the Goodheart-Wilcox Teacher’s Resource Edition of Working with Young Children, a childcare textbook.
The faculty of Bradley’s FCS department was always very encouraging and made sure all students had opportunities to develop confidence and skills for their future professions. I also remember several faculty members in the education department who made a career in education seem important and worthwhile. My sorority membership helped me develop leadership skills, supported my academic achievement, and provided role models for community service, as well as supplied opportunities to develop social and interpersonal skills. The entire Bradley experience was very instrumental in who I am today.
I remember two dinners at faculty members’ homes. Dr. Nina Collins served a delicious lasagna and salad meal, and Mrs. Betty Church served a taco salad that I helped prepare and have continued to make to this day. I remember their warm personalities and how they welcomed students to their homes. I know that Mrs. Church has already retired, and I wish Dr. Collins a happy, healthy, and rewarding retirement.
Degree/Year: B.S., FCS-T, 1980; L.S. 1997
Current Employer: Hill-Rom
Title: Account Executive
My best advice for students would be to have an open mind when it comes to career choices. Your first choice might not be available, so take something else you enjoy and build from that! Your education will carry you a long way; even if you don’t use it at first, the background and knowledge you’ve gained will always be with you. I promise that one day, you will be using that knowledge when you least expect it! So soak it all up now, and enjoy every minute of it.
While I was at Bradley, I majored in family and consumer science education. The diverse range of training I received in textiles, foods and nutrition, interior design, and fashion merchandising made it easy for me to teach whichever courses were needed during my 17 years as a high school teacher. When I decided to change careers, I went into sales and my Bradley experience came back into play. My knowledge of textiles, furniture, and interior design helped me design hospital rooms and waiting areas, as well as select furniture and fabrics for those rooms. My time on the Hilltop further cultivated an inner confidence for teaching and an assured ability to speak in front of classes, which I now use when speaking and educating entire health systems on Hill-Rom products.
I am currently an account executive for Hill-Rom, the leader in intelligent bed systems for hospital beds. My job is best described as partnering with hospitals, as well as nursing schools, to provide medical equipment and furnishings that enhance outcomes for caregivers and patients. As an account executive, I am responsible for more than 150 accounts in central Illinois and parts of Indiana. I also service colleges, such as Bradley, which offer nursing programs. I sell intelligent beds, stretchers, furniture, architectural products such as booms, headwalls, and patient lifts. Communications, such as nurse call systems, are also part of the total hospital room package that I can provide.
Every day at my job, I learn something new. No two days are ever the same. It is exciting, challenging, and very rewarding. One of my favorite parts of my job is working with contractors and architects designing hospital rooms. I enjoy meeting new people and making connections within all my accounts. At the end of every day, I know in my heart that I have made a difference for patients, nursing, and staff in the hospitals. I have a deep passion to make hospital rooms safe, efficient, healing, and inviting. I can honestly say that I love my job!
Carol Krupps Wilson
Degree/Year: B.S., Secondary Education, 1981
Current Employer: Washington Community High School, Washington, IL
Title: Family and consumer science teacher
For the past four years of my 16-year career, I have taught family and consumer science at Washington Community High School in Washington, Illinois. Currently, I teach Foods and Nutrition I and II and also Creative Fashions I and II.
I love my job. I feel so lucky to be able to teach a subject that I love so much and feel so passionate about. Everyday is something new and different with high school students. The day that I don’t learn something new while teaching is the day I should retire.
I feel family and consumer science has always met the needs of society, but, now more than ever, students are looking to our courses to teach them the skills no longer taught at home. We teach life skills, but I feel the most important thing we teach is confidence. When a student sees that they have the creativity to be successful in my classes, hopefully this will instill more confidence in them so they can be more successful in other subjects and in their life.
I think my only advice to current students is to be passionate about your career. Sometimes this passionate feeling does not come right away, but give it a little time. Our subject matter is so important to the world. If our society placed more value on the subjects we teach in family and consumer science, there would be fewer problems in the world.
My Bradley experience was wonderful. I had many wonderful instructors, but the one instructor who really made a lasting impression on me was Dr. Nina Collins. She was an excellent teacher, but more importantly, she gave me the encouragement and support to fulfill my dream of becoming a family and consumer science teacher. Much of that support has come after I graduated from BU. She is always there with words of wisdom for me.
I remember wonderful times just sitting in the FCS lounge and talking, laughing, and complaining with fellow students and instructors. Since graduating, I have had some wonderful memories of sharing my classroom with some excellent student teachers from Bradley.
Degree/Year: B.S., Retail Merchandising, 1987
Current Employer: “Intimate Events” wedding planning
Title: Founder and owner
I am the creator and owner of an event planning business called “Intimate Events,” which specializes in weddings of 75 guests or smaller. I truly love working with brides to ensure that their special day is absolutely perfect. In the current economic climate, it is imperative that brides work with event planners who know and are continually shopping for the best-priced vendors for the location, photographer, videographers, florists, and more.
In the future, I hope to replicate my current business plan geared to address the budget needs of those Americans serving our country. I would like to open “Dawn Wedding Chapels/Happy Flowers Florist” around military bases to provide an intimate, yet affordable, one-stop shop for their ceremony. It is a win-win for military couples and me as we make their dreams come true while also doing my part to create jobs.
During my time at Bradley University, I was encouraged to flex my creative spirit in the retail merchandising program. This, along with helping to plan and execute successful fashion shows, helped me to become proficient at multitasking.
My advice for current students is to be open to wherever your path might lead you. Always be aware of needs in the community where there are no resources available, and then be ready to move to fill it. Follow your dreams and take advantage of every opportunity that you are blessed with.
Degree/Year: B.S., Retail Merchandising, 2004
Current Employer: GSS Inc., Chicago, IL
Title: Manager, Associations and Event Services
I love what I do! Currently, I oversee conference and event planning, website and communication management, program development, strategic partnerships, membership recruitment and retention, and financial management for GSS Inc. in Chicago. I work directly with the board of directors and association volunteers to drive their vision for the association while serving as a liaison for association members and partnering organizations. I specialize in leadership development, event planning, and motivation of volunteers. I am able to maximize clients’ profitability by identifying alternative revenue opportunities and cost-cutting procedures.
My favorite part is interacting with many different people and organizations from clients to suppliers to venues. My network is constantly growing, allowing me to find new ways to work with people and develop new ideas. I also love when an event comes together, and I can look around and see how all of our hard work has paid off on the day of production. It is truly a powerful feeling.
New technology is always providing new methods to generate business, new tools to get a job done, and new means of meeting our clients’ needs. GSS Inc. is adamant about staying on the cutting edge, and we work hard to keep up with these new trends. In order to do this, we challenge ourselves to never become too comfortable with how we are operating or the tools we are using. By staying aware of changing business trends, we are more likely to adopt them and better serve our clients.
My advice for current students would be, to first of all, cherish every minute of your time at Bradley. It will be over in the blink of an eye, so make the most of every opportunity, every friendship, and every class. Students also should realize that building your professional network starts now. Once you complete school, you will realize the importance of having a solid network that you can rely on for advice, business leads, and job opportunities. Building strong relationships with your classmates and professors is the ideal place to begin developing this network.
I think the well-rounded curriculum at Bradley served to educate me not only in the field I was studying but in so many other related fields as well. I felt that the size of the school and the department allowed for individual attention from my professor and their commitment to educating each student.
One of my greatest memories at Bradley was working in my FCS 330 course on the Fashion Show we produced in the fall of 2002. Betty Church was a great instructor, and the entire class worked feverishly to create an excellent show. I enjoyed every detail from choosing the theme, music, and attire to going to Famous-Barr to choose the outfits, and of course, the final product.
Degree/Year: B.S., Dietetics, 2006
Current Employer: National Institute for Athletic Health and Performance at Sanford USD Medical Center, Sioux Falls, SD
Title: Sports dietician/research associate III
Although it is quite a mouthful to say, I am sports dietitian/research associate III at the National Institute for Athletic Health and Performance (NIAHP) at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. I play several roles at the NIAHP with my primary role being sports dietitian. I see all clients with nutrition-related concerns. I complete resting energy expenditures with these clients as well as body composition assessments. I also am responsible for the individual consults and training table for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, an NBA Development league team.
My secondary role is as an exercise physiologist. We work on various fitness testing (VO2max, anaerobic threshold), as well as, sweat electrolyte loss and heat tolerance testing. Our facility is equipped with an environmental chamber where we can simulate anywhere from 40 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and 0 to 100 percent humidity. This has been especially helpful for individuals who have issues with cramping due to sodium and fluid losses. My tertiary role is as a research associate. Our current project involves adolescents who complete repeated bouts of exercise in the heat. We take stability measurements on our force plate to assess injury risk before, during, and after strenuous exercise. A project starting this summer will involve Type I diabetics and glucose management in the heat.
I truly enjoy the interaction with our clients and research subjects. We work with such a large variety of age groups and issues; every client has a unique limitation or problem, and I have continued to use my MNT knowledge while also helping to improve athletic performance. One of my favorite aspects is working with the college and professional athletes in the area; they tend to be very motivated to push themselves to the next level.
My advice to current students would be, “Do not be afraid to move outside of your comfort zone or to ask questions.” I have never been afraid of moving, so when I applied for my internships, I went across the country. It was one of the best decisions of my life. My internship was through the University of Houston, and I worked under some of the most amazing dietitians in a large variety of settings. The best way to gain knowledge is to experience it and to take mental notes when you make mistakes.
Get involved as much as you can in FCS and in the community. Take advantage of the resource you have in dietitians involved in Illinois Dietetics Association and Central Illinois Dietetic Association. Simply applying for jobs can get you where you want to go, but networking can make a huge impact when a job comes down to you and an equally qualified candidate.
The one-on-one attention from the professors at Bradley made a huge difference for me. Having a smaller department was a blessing. It meant the professors had time for each student and were willing to answer any questions that came up. I also felt very prepared when I started my internship and took the registered dietitian exam. The FCS Department provided me with the tools I needed to be successful as a dietitian.
Working directly with Dr. Jeannette Davidson on my Mildred Arnold project also made a large impact. While it was not a thesis-level research project, having the opportunity to do research as an undergraduate prepared me for graduate school. I had an understanding of how research worked and what was required of me.
One of my most embarrassing memories in the FCS Department happened my freshman year in Introductory Food Principles lab with Dr. Nina Collins. Each student had a particular recipe we were supposed to follow; mine was a muffin recipe. The purpose was to see how the amount of time you stir the batter influences how much the muffins rise. Well, in my haste to finish, I did not read all of the directions and just stirred the muffin batter as I would have at home. My muffins all came out very uniform, clearly indicating to everyone in the class that I had not read the directions very well. Dr. Collins was, of course, very kind, but I was quite embarrassed by my mistake.
Current Employer: Apple’s Gluten-Free Kitchen
Title: Manager and Head Baker
I am the Manager, and Head Baker of Apple’s Gluten-Free Kitchen, a division of Apple’s Bakery, in Peoria, IL. I am in charge of overseeing all production, and regulatory items of the Gluten Free Kitchen. I have also been tasked with ensuring the integrity of the Gluten-Free Products, and making sure that we are in compliance with the State of Illinois Health Department. I have created a HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points) Program to ensure that all the proper steps and procedures are in place to prevent cross-contamination in our Gluten-Free products and production area. I have been able to make a career out of taking my passion for foods and nutrition, and mixing it with my desire to help others.
There are so many aspects of my job that I greatly enjoy! However, one of the most rewarding parts of my job is that I get to interact with the Gluten-Free community on a daily basis. I talk with at least four people a week that have just been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, or another form of food intolerance. Most of these individuals are very nervous, confused, and scared about tackling the new Gluten-Free lifestyle. It’s a very rewarding feeling to be able to talk with these individuals, and to be able to give them tips and tricks to make their lives a little bit easier.
I also am charged with developing new products on a regular basis. In addition to our Gluten-Free products, I’ve been able to add Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, and Vegan options for our customers. I feel that it’s important to tackle as many allergens as possible, as it is not uncommon to find individuals with more than one food allergy or intolerance.
My Experimental Foods class played a direct role in my career at Apple’s; in this class, I learned the tricks for substituting different ingredients to meet a vast array of dietary needs. For those of you who currently enduring your semesters in Lydia’s Lounge slaving over a hot grill, that time spent will pay off; those classes have, in part, given me the confidence and ability to run a very effective and efficient team. Finally, I’d have to say that the FCS 461 Practicum was the most beneficial part of my experience. Without having to choose a place to work that was directly related to my major, I know that I would not be where I am today.
To current FCS majors I would say, “Your time at Bradley is what YOU make of it!” There are so many resources at your disposal, if you choose to use them (and you should!) Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Get involved! An employer will look not only at your grades, but also the activities you were involved in. Companies are looking for someone that is an active participant in other roles, so join in and always remember to have fun. I’ll always remember the trips to Indiana, Maryland, and Ohio Sophomore year following the Bradley Soccer team to an Elite 8 finish. My most embarrassing moment at Bradley would have to be carrying a tray full of drinks down the steps at Carver Arena for the basketball band, missing a step, and crashing down the rest of the stairs, and spilling the drinks all over myself!
Title: Student, Midwestern University
Currently, I’m finishing my second year at Midwestern University in Glendale, AZ, pursuing a Master’s of Medical Science and physician assistant certification. During the last 15 months of training, I am in the process of completing the required rotations / exams in order to be able to sit for my boards and licensure this coming September.
Although the training is highly demanding, I very much enjoy what I am doing and find myself constantly challenged to better myself through education and personal interaction. The field of medicine is ever evolving and lifelong learning is essential to provide the best patient care possible. I enjoy meeting, speaking with, treating and learning from my patients as each day is different and rewarding in its own regard.
Aside from all things that Bradley had to offer, the thing that I valued most was the small class sizes and personal attention from educators. Prior to transferring to Bradley, I attended U of I and found a majority of my courses were taught in large, lecture-based learning formats that were difficult to follow and retain. However, I found the environment at Bradley to be more conducive to learning through small group interactions / exercises with my peers and educators. Looking back, I know that I have benefited directly from these experiences, as my professional career requires a small “team” approach to patient care and medicine.
Time management and preparation are perhaps the two most important skills that I have found to be invaluable, as I have furthered my education. Learning to prioritize, not only with regard to course work / requirements but also your personal life, is essential to overall happiness and success. Aside from time management, preparation is key. Doing the appropriate research and timeliness in submitting application materials are essential when applying to graduate school. If your application is early in the cycle, well written, and with appropriate documentation you will be setting yourself up for success.
Although there are many, I am certain that my interactions and relationships with the faculty are some of my fondest memories at Bradley. When I initially transferred to Bradley, I wanted nothing more than to finish my bachelor’s degree and continue working. However, thanks to several faculty members who took an interest and invested their time in me, I found something in myself that pushed me to pursue a graduate degree and ultimately find my true passion. I cannot, and will never be able thank them enough for I am truly indebted not only for my education but my continued relationships with them.
Degree/Year: B.A., History, 1976
Current Employer: Thomas P. Gohagn & Company
The Hospitality Leadership major did not exist when I graduated (1976, BA History), but the courses I took at Bradley and my year of studying abroad in Italy helped guide me down the path of working in the travel industry. I started working in travel in 1978 and never had a second thought about changing careers.
For the last 24 years I have worked at Thomas P. Gohagan & Company, a group tour operator specializing in university alumni association and museum association group travel. Our programs cover all continents and we operate over 30 different programs a year totaling about 100 departures year-round. My current position as Vice President involves overseeing the Program Operations department regarding inventory management as well as budgetary issues they may have involving the touring aspects of the programs. I also work closely with the Product Development department in planning our touring programs. The largest part of my job is pricing our tour products to come up with viable selling prices for all of our programs that are marketed to alumni and museum members.
I think what I like most about my job is that in many ways I do no have a set job description. I interact with many departments discussing everything from destination questions to pricing details of programs. Also, in general, when I think of selling, marketing or pricing a "product" I cannot think of a more interesting product than travel. The business of travel is affected by so many aspects - the economy of the world, politics, even the weather. So when I come to work each day, I never know what the day will bring. The key word to working in the travel industry is to be flexible.
What attracted me most about Bradley when I was looking for universities, was the student to teacher ratio and small class size. I got to know the professors in the History Department and their doors were always open if you needed assistance. The diverse curriculum that I took at Bradley also helped guide me down the career path I chose even though I did not realize it at the time.
My advice for current students who are in the Hospitality Leadership program is to keep an open mind in their travels and truly take advantage of all the opportunities offered when they spend their time abroad. Think of it as if you may never return to the destination again. It may be hard to leave Bradley and family for that semester or year, but it is a very positive adventure and learning experience that should be embraced.
I think the friendships I made at Bradley are what I appreciate most and hold most dear. Fellow alumna and I still reminisce about the crazy, embarrassing and funny memories at Bradley which I should probably not put in print.