Dr. Jamie Copper is an associate professor in sports nutrition. She holds two degrees from Michigan State University and her Ph.D. From University of Wisconsin-Madison and, comes to FACS From Texas Tech University. Dr. Cooper has published numerous journal articles with a list of exceptional colleagues and has published one book, "The Complete Nutrition Guides for Triathletes" (2012). In addition to studying metabolism and hunger/satiety in humans as it relates to obesity and chronic disease, she carries outreach in the area of sport nutrition. She answers questions below about her background and career so far at UGA.
Where did you earn degrees and what are your current responsibilities at UGA?
My BS and MS degrees were in Kinesiology (Exercise Physiology) from Michigan State University, and My PhD was in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My current responsibilities at UGA are to teach courses in the area of sports nutrition and carry out research in the areas of obesity, metabolism, and sports nutrition.
When did you come to UGA and what brought you here?
I started at UGA this fall semester (August 2015). My husband and I wanted to be at a great, research intensive school, so UGA fit the bill. I wanted to be able to teach sports nutrition to graduate and undergraduate students and carry out the kind of research I’m interested in. I also really liked Athens when I came for my interview, so I was excited about moving here and starting at UGA.
What are your favorite courses and why?
The class I teach here at UGA, of course I love all nutrition and exercise courses, but my favorite things to teach are sports nutrition and sports supplement classes. As someone who’s always been interested in the interaction between nutrition and exercise, and as a recreational triathlete and runner, sports nutrition is something I am passionate about.
What interests you about your field?
I would say that my field is not limited to sports nutrition. I teach courses in that area, but my research interests expand well beyond sports nutrition too. I am interested in studying how different nutrients, diets, or supplements can change human physiology in order to improve health, decrease chronic disease risk, or improve athletic performance. Again, these are all things I am interested in, so carrying out research studies to answer questions in this area is fun and always challenging. I also really enjoy learning and doing research and teaching in academia allows me to constantly be learning more about our field.
What are some highlights of your career?
I think getting Tenure and Promotion at Texas Tech University was definitely a highlight. When you start out as an assistant professor, that tenure clock is always hanging over your head. It was a relief and an accomplishment to achieve that goal. Other highlights include every external grant I receive, no matter how big or small, teaching and research awards won at Texas Tech University and conferences, mentoring graduate students and seeing some of my former students now in very successful careers, and interacting with graduate and undergraduate students on a daily basis.
How does your research or scholarship inspire your teaching, and vice versa?
I feel lucky that my research and teaching complement each other so well. I’m able to take a lot of our study results and incorporate that into the classroom which can provide students with an entirely different experience and understanding of a course concept. Critiquing journal articles in graduate courses and updating course material also allows me to see the latest research in my field and it helps develop/foster conversation for future research we may do in our lab.
What do you hope students gain from their classroom experience with you?
I hope they get passionate about nutrition and how it can affect everything ranging from daily health to elite athletic performance. I want my students to work hard and learn a lot, but I also want them to be able to apply what they learn to their daily lives and their future professions.
Describe your ideal student.
To me, the ideal student would be someone who is genuinely interested in the course I’m teaching and has a desire to learn as much as possible. I like students who are as passionate about my field as I am. An ideal student is also someone who works hard, is always willing and able to help others, and shows up with a smile on his/her face each day.
Favorite place to be/thing to do on campus is…
Well, I went to my first UGA football game this past weekend, so I can tell that going to those and other sports events on campus is going to be really fun. Since I’m relatively new here, my favorite thing to do right now is to explore campus when I go running every morning. This is a great way to see a new area, and I’m constantly discovering new and beautiful places on campus.
Beyond the UGA campus, I like to…
Run, run, run. I’m also really into triathlons, so I enjoy swimming and biking and just exercising in general. I also enjoy reading, watching just about any kind of sports on TV, and hanging out with my family and friends from church.
This is hard because I love to read. I would say my favorite books are the Bible, American Sniper, and Quiet Strength. My favorite movie of all time is Major League.