Dr. Berg is an Assistant Professor and Extension Nutrition and Health Specialist. Her research involves evaluating community education programs to improve nutrition for the prevention and management of chronic disease, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers. As the State Extension Nutrition and Health Specialist, she leads nutrition education programming delivered by Extension agents in Georgia in the areas of disease prevention and health maintenance throughout the lifespan. In addition, Dr. Berg has experience in school nutrition, public health, senior centers, and weight loss intervention research for overweight and obese older women. She answers questions below about her background and career so far at UGA.
Where did you earn your degrees and what are your current responsibilities at UGA?
I'm a proud triple DAWG, having received bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees all from UGA. I currently work as an Assistant Professor and a state Nutrition and Health Specialist for Cooperative Extension. As the state Nutrition and Health Specialist, I provide leadership to our community nutrition education and programs offered throughout the state of Georgia by our Family and Consumer Sciences Cooperative Extension Agents. These folks help take the knowledge and resources of the University and give back to the Georgia community through education, outreach, and research.
When did you come to UGA and what brought you here?
I keep circling back to UGA because it is a wonderful place to live, work, and play. I truly enjoy the faculty and students in our department, college, and university, and I think we have the best programs around!
What are your favorite courses to teach and why?
I don't have regular teaching responsibilities, but I do love to guest lecture. What I love most about my job is working with our wonderful FACS agents to help them be the local experts in Nutrition and Health. It's great to see their hard work helping the community.
What interests you about your field?
I love nutrition because I love to eat! It's nice to be in a field that's so close to home for every person on this earth. Nutrition is such an integral part of our daily functioning and can do so much for or against our health. I like working with individuals and groups to make good nutrition manageable, because it can be truly transformative.
What are some highlights of your career?
I have enjoyed many highlights working as an RD and now a professor, from working with the WIC program to help women and children develop healthy habits, to working in school nutrition, where kids are learning about new foods, develop taste preferences, and get an education, to serving as a research dietitian for older women trying to lose weight, and now as an Extension specialist serving our Georgia community. It's been a wonderful whirlwind.
How does your research or scholarship inspire your teaching, and vice versa?
My research inspires my Extension programming, because I want to make sure that our clientele has the most up to date information about nutrition and health. Further, my research is primarily focused on evaluating our programs which means we're constantly working to make them better.
Describe your ideal student.
One who is enthusiastic about learning, has a good sense of humor, and is motivated, but doesn't take themselves or me too seriously. We're all human, we all make mistakes, we certainly don't know everything (how many times a day do you Google?), but boy can we do some amazing things when we work hard and together.
What is your favorite place to be/activity to do on campus?
I love home football Saturdays! The energy and enthusiasm is unparalleled.
What do you like to do beyond the UGA campus?
I love live music, running, and my dogs (including running with my dogs).
What does your community/civic involvement include?
I enjoy doing runs/walks that raise money for a variety of causes.
What is your favorite book/movie?
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (told from the point of view of the dog... the best kind of book)
What is your proudest moment at UGA?
My proudest moments at UGA were watching each of my participants graduate from our weight management program/research study. The accomplishment in their eyes was inspiring, and it was incredibly rewarding to be a part of that process.