Our Story/Angela Schlegel

As a dancer most of her life, Angela Schlegel became conscious over the years about what food she put in her body, and how it impacted her performance. That consciousness turned into a passion, and now she is determined to help people enhance their health through nutrition.

From Mifflintown, Pennsylvania, Schlegel is a senior Nutritional Sciences major with minors in Human Development and Family Studies and gerontology. She said her lab work on campus, involvement with the Student Nutrition Association, and internship experiences have solidified her career choice and continue to present her with firsthand experience working in the field.

More than 4,500 Penn State students are enrolled in the College of Health and Human Development (HHD) studying a wide-array of fields, each committed to the concept of improving the quality of life for others. Schlegel, who found a home in the Department of Nutritional Sciences (NUTR), is one of those HHD students, and this is her story.

Schlegel has worked as a student research assistant in the Metabolic Kitchen and Children’s Eating Behavior Laboratory since July 2014. Her duties include preparing and measuring meals for participants, working with local school district and McCormick Spice Company to help incorporate more fruits and vegetables into students’ diets with the use of spices, and watching fMRIs being taken of participants after meals.

Schlegel said working alongside Kathleen Keller, Mark T. Greenberg Early Career Professor for Children’s Health and Development, and assistant professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Department of Food Science, has presented her with countless opportunities.

“She’s allowed me to grow in the lab,” Schlegel said about Keller.

The lab prepared her for research, gave her more experience working with a team, and helped her grow professionally, she said.

“I had to work with real families which helped enhance my communication skills,” Schlegel said. “I had to explain research in a way patients could understand. I think that’s really going to help me in the future.”

Through her nutrition courses, Schlegel also got experience working in a hospital setting.

In May through August 2015, she held an internship at Geisinger Health Systems in Danville, Pennsylvania.

As part of the “Healthy Selections Internship,” Schlegel worked at “Get Fresh Markets,” which make healthy produce available to employees of the hospital. She also designed recipe handouts for Get Fresh Markets, updated cafeteria menus accordingly, and created handouts featuring antibiotic-free foods for Geisinger’s Food Day. She also proposed a new design for beverage coolers in the cafeteria to better highlight healthy options, and served food to customers in the hospital cafeteria.

She also spent 72 hours shadowing clinicians at Lewistown Hospital in Lewistown, Pennsylvania during summer 2013.

As vice president of the Student Nutrition Association, Schlegel has had the opportunity to teach nutritional courses on and off campus, including for other student organizations and area food banks.

“It’s always nice to make a difference outside of the classroom,” she said, adding that older students in the organization provide her with guidance, support and encouragement.

“That club has really helped me over the years,” she said.

After graduating, Schlegel hopes to become a registered dietitian, possibly with a focus on diabetes education, and work in a clinical setting, such as a hospital.

In addition to NUTR, there are a variety of areas for students to study within HHD through the Departments of Biobehavioral Health, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Health Policy and Administration, Human Development and Family Studies, Kinesiology, Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, and the School of Hospitality Management.