Careers in Food and Nutrition
If you’re interested in science, education, and helping others, a career in family and consumer science may be a great option for you. Check out how one graduate of Tuskegee’s College of Agriculture, Environment, and Nutrition Sciences got where she is today!
Did you know?
Tuskegee University is one of only two minority-serving institutions in the state of Alabama with an Institute of Food Technologyapproved program training African-Americans and other minorities to become food and nutritional science professionals.
Potential Magazine: What made you decide to attend Tuskegee University?
Catrina Hoffman: The factors that most influenced my decision to attend TU were its convenient location and the fact that my “Nan” was a longtime employee. From a very young age, I would often visit Nan at work in the Provost’s Office, and I was impressed with not only the beautiful campus grounds but also how the faculty and staff were personally invested in helping each student achieve their career goals. I always envisioned myself in the TU graduation cap and gown with honor cords when I attended graduation exercises with my grandmother— I saw how proud she was of “her students” and hoped one day she and I would share that same heartwarming moment. Sadly, my Nan passed away before I graduated with honors from TU.
How would you describe your college experience?
CH: I enjoyed my undergraduate years at Tuskegee— student life in the dorm, summer internships, homecoming activities, and most of all, making fond memories with friends that would last a lifetime! Reflecting on my college years, I wish I had participated in more organizations, and perhaps joined a sorority or the journalism club. I wish I had studied harder so I could have graduated summa cum laude!
Do you have any advice for teens who are getting ready to head off to college?
CH: Always do your best, regardless of the task. I was taught at a very young age that God, determination, and a positive attitude could conquer any obstacle. Throughout the many trials I have encountered in my short life, these words of wisdom have sustained me.
How was your transition from college to career?
CH: What surprised me the most was how different people working together as a team could achieve the expected outcome. As an only child, I was accustomed to completing most tasks on my own. However, at my very first summer job on a farm when I was 15, I worked with a group of youth and mentors from different cultures, backgrounds, and educational experiences, and I was quite amazed at the production we achieved as a team. Teamwork makes the dream work!
Where are you working currently, and what does your job involve?
CH: I am employed as a Family and Consumer Science Agent in two rural counties in Alabama. My office is in Union Springs, where I oversee nutrition programs, seminars, workshops, and classes for adults and children related to adopting a healthy lifestyle. I present food demonstrations illustrating how to prepare nutritious meals on a budget, as well as educate adults and children about the importance of preventing and combating obesity, heart disease, and cancer. These duties require me to travel to churches, senior centers, and schools in rural locations where clients often have limited resources but are still eager and willing to learn. In addition to my extension duties, I am grateful to Dr. Norma Dawkins for recommending me to teach Nutrition, Health, and Wellness— an introductory course for up-and-coming nursing and food and nutrition science students at Tuskegee University. It is refreshing to teach at my alma mater and to be in some of the same classes I attended as an exuberant freshman ready to conquer the world!
What’s the best thing about your job?
CH: The best things about my career are the people I meet and the places I travel. From large metropolitan cities such as Washington DC. to small, rural communities like Gees Bend, Alabama, I am always inspired by the sights, sounds, cuisine, diversity, and people I encounter.
The College of Agriculture, Environment, and Nutrition Sciences (CAENS) at Tuskegee University is designed to prepare future leaders in areas of agriculture sciences, food and nutritional sciences, veterinary medicine, environmental policy and more. For more information visit https://www.tuskegee.edu/programs-courses/colleges-schools/caens.