Brookelyn Heiss sets high standards for herself.
The senior from Marietta, Ohio, wanted two things in a university: An accredited dietetics program and the ability to play soccer as a goalkeeper. She found both at UW-Stevens Point.
“I have an internal drive that I push myself to get outside of my comfort zone. I’m always looking for that next experience and ways I can make connections.”
She graduated early from high school and began at UW-Stevens Point in the spring semester of 2019. “I didn’t know anyone. I have my teammates and I have my schoolwork, so those are what I’m going to focus on.”
Heiss went to the Tutoring-Learning Center for tutoring, then became a tutor. “I got to know the tutors and that really set me up for success, not only in coursework but making those connections,” she said. She worked her way up to being a tutor mentor.
Making connections was key throughout her academic and campus life experience, she said.
She got involved in the Student Association of Nutrition and Dietetics (SAND) her first semester and now is the treasurer. She has taken on mentoring and management roles there, too.
As a student manager of the CPS Café, Heiss is involved with food service, catering, planning, budgeting, and food safety, and assists the café manager with training new employees. Working there, both pre- and post-COVID, has also been an opportunity to work with professors and community organizations on different projects.
“I’ve seen a lot of the aspects of the café, and it’s truly been a great experience and all the exposure I’ve been able to have through that business.” She has also gained experience working as the student lab manager for the university’s food lab courses and volunteering with Feed My Starving Children, Special Olympics Wisconsin and Central Rivers Farmshed.
Heiss plans a career in sports nutrition. “I’ve always been an athlete, and this is a bridge to my two favorite things.”
She had nutrition battles as a teen and said she saw how it hindered performance. Speaking with fellow athletes here plus her academic and business experiences at UW-Stevens Point have made her more passionate about the career path, she said.
“My professors really get to know you on a personal level.”
Knowing her interest in sports nutrition, her adviser Deborah Tang, program director and senior lecturer of food and nutrition at UW-Stevens Point, helped connect Heiss with a sports nutrition internship last summer. She interned with the Wausau Woodchucks, a summer collegiate baseball team in the Northwoods League. Heiss managed the food service operation for home and visiting teams, coordinating purchasing, inventory, menu creation, production and nutrition education for players and coaches.
She is working with Professor Annie Wetter to provide nutrition counseling to student-athletes, “which is a great experience as an undergrad,” Heiss said.
These experiences contributed to Heiss being named the 2022 Wisconsin Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (WAND) Outstanding Dietetics Student for her demonstrated leadership and professional potential this month. “I am certain Brookelyn’s strong work ethic, standards of excellence, and interpersonal skills will ensure her success as a future dietitian,” Tang said. “Brookelyn is extremely deserving of this award, and I know that she will represent our profession well and dedicate her career to serving and leading others.”
Heiss has been accepted into the highly competitive U.S. Army-Baylor Master’s Program in Nutrition. Selected candidates become commissioned officers and attend professional military education prior to starting the MPN, including four-year active duty service commitment after graduation.