Coming from the University of Illinois, food science and human nutrition graduate Kristen Truvoka had a well-rounded education in dietetics. Her background in food service, nutrition communications, and especially medical nutrition has helped her advance and be flexible in her career.
Being adaptable and open minded has helped Kristen succeed, including being a recipient of the Oncology Dietetic Practice Group (ON DPG) Distinguished Practice Award.
“The other dieticians that receive this award are either major leaders in oncology nutrition or helped found our oncology practice exam,” Kristen says. “They’re great researchers in the field of oncology.”
Kristen has achieved a lot in her career, supported by her foundations at the U of I.
“When starting the work day, you may begin with five patients, and then get five more throughout the day,” Kristen says. “You have to be ready to go with it, and ready to go from one thing to another. From U of I’s rigorous classes and their nutritional focus, I learned to be persistent— whether that’s going for an extra certification or facilitation of a research study or being persistent with what our patients really need.”
Kristen has been going the extra mile to help patients for years. One recent patient repeatedly thanks her for changing his life during his battle with prostate cancer. According to Kristen, she “Gave him the tools to move on. He’s the one that incorporated those diet changes to change his life.”
Kristen gained the tools necessary for success during her undergraduate career. She took numerous classes in nutrition communication, food service, and culinary arts, and she served as the president of the campus student dietetic association. She learned from these experiences how to teach patients to prepare their own food, how to answer media inquiries about research studies, and how to organize programs and conferences.
Looking back, Kristen is grateful for the knowledge and focus that ACES provided her.
“I knew of U of I’s reputation when I was in high school: they had a strong academic background. Throughout my time here at Midwestern Regional Medical Center in Zion, Illinois, we’ve hired several U of I graduates, and they’re quick learners. They can contribute to our team quickly, and a lot of that is because of how U of I prepared them.”