Meet the

DCTX Board

2023-2024

Interested in Becoming a Member?

Melinda Nguyen
Melinda Nguyen
Melinda Nguyen

Melinda Nguyen, MS, RD, LD

Executive Director

I am ecstatic to be the executive director for this year, leading the board of Dietitians of Central Texas, as we continue to provide valuable CEUs, networking opportunities and mentoring of new dietitians in the area. I look forward to meeting and getting to know everyone of you during our meetings and socials. We can learn so much from each other and y’all are so much fun!Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, suggestions, comments. I’d love to hear from you.

I joined DCTX 6 years ago when I first moved here from Boston, Massachusetts. I didn’t know anybody but these ladies welcomed me and I love this group of dietitians in Central Texas.

Jill G

Alma Celis, RD

Director of Member Engagement, Board Advisor for Director of Continuing Education

(ED elect)

I am so excited to serve as Director of Member Engagement! I started with DCTX as a Student Liaison for The University of Texas. I have also held the position of Wellness Symposium Co-Chair. I have met and grown close with many amazing professionals through DCTX.

When I am not at work or in school I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, finding parks to enjoy at sunset, or going to concerts. I am passionate about sustainability, cooking, all things food service! I look forward to spreading the word of how awesome it is to be a part of DCTX!

Jill G

Beth K. Thorson, MS, RDN

Director of Diversity & Inclusion

Having spent my entire career in community nutrition programs, I’ve seen first-hand the challenges of improving population health through our dietary patterns. It’s an exciting ride as we pursue the basic human rights to fresh, safe, affordable, and culturally-appropriate foods in all communities. I recently retired from the Texas Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Division.
Now I’m an active volunteer in the dietetics profession; with Girl Scouts, Impact Austin, the Metropolitan Breakfast Club, Kappa Delta Sorority; and at church. My husband, daughter, and I have lived in Austin for 27 years. 
Angela Finn

Angela Finn, MS, RD

Director of Communications

I’m a dietitian who fills 1/2 my plate with veggies (always), and the rest with foods like bacon, pizza, wings, tacos and garlic bread. I like to challenge myself with a long bike ride, and also cheers with a glass of craft beer. I nerd out getting into science, and also goof out cracking some witty food puns. As a professional in health & wellness, not the food police, I enjoy providing support with developing healthy relationships with food — after all, we are not robots and food is meant to be enjoyed. As Director of Communications, I am berry excited to turnip the beet with exploring effective and interactive channels of communication in order to involve all members and guests of DCTX. I look forward to ketching-up with y’all soon!

Fun Fact: I’m a Latina who loves sauce, but can’t handle hot sauce (not even Sriracha).

Marcie K

Marissa Gregurek, MA, RD, LD

Director of Administration

Howdy! I’m excited to support DCTX this year as the Director of Administration. I’ve enjoyed meeting so many wonderful dietitians in the past few years as a DCTX member, and I love both the professional opportunities and social connections that our organization brings. I currently work in community nutrition, specializing in pediatrics and women’s health and providing nutrition resources to Texas families. Before that, I completed my undergrad at Texas A&M University and my DI/Masters at the University of Oklahoma. On sunny days you can find me paddleboarding or on a hiking adventure in a national park. Sharing recipes is my love language.

Erin E

Erin Echternach, RD, LD

Director of Finance

I am passionate about all things food-growing, cooking, eating, etc.-so nutrition has been the perfect fit for me! I started my RD journey in school nutrition and through that found my new passion for supply chain and distribution. I am currently a sales rep for Labatt Food Service, and many of my accounts are local school districts. I love being able to support the Austin area community who keeps everyone nourished from restaurants to schools to food trucks to summer camps! Being a part of DCTX has also been inspiring and has contributed to my development as a registered dietitian. This year I hope to continue to contribute to the development of this awesome community as the Director of Finance by exploring ways to provide as much value as possible to our members through high quality guest speakers, fun group excursions, and more! On a lighter note, I get great satisfaction out of tending to my small garden at home and hope to one day become a Master Gardener.

Caroline Patrick

Lubna Qureshi, MDS, RDN, LD

Board Advisor

Greetings Everyone! I am Lubna (pronounced as Luna with a b in the middle). I started my Dietetics career in the clinical settings and switched to academia after my husband’s retirement from the US Air Force and our relocation to the Austin area. Currently, I teach Nutrition Sciences to undergraduate students at two private universities and culinary students at a local college.

In addition, I volunteer at a local clinic to provide nutritional counselling to underprivileged patients. I also volunteer with the women’s auxiliary at my local mosque to provide training and education to women. My husband and I live in the suburbs of Austin with our youngest of four children as well as 11 chickens and one rooster. I like exploring hiking trails in Austin and surrounding areas.

Growing up, it was my dream to become a pilot and fly an airplane. That dream was partially fulfilled when a friend offered to give me the controls of his single engine airplane flying from Anchorage, over the Knik glacier. He gave me a briefing both times we flew together. Though I didn’t become a pilot, I can say that I flew an airplane without crashing it.

Marissa A

Sarah Winkler, MS, RD, LD

Social Chair

I have been a dietitian in the Austin area for over 9 years, and I have been part of this organization since the start. I love volunteering alongside wonderful dietitians who have become friends. I am a Louisiana native but got to Texas as quickly as I could! I completed my bachelor’s at Louisiana State University (Geaux Tigers!) and my master’s and internship at Texas State University. I started my career supporting school districts in K-12 food service and have not left! I enjoy baking and being outdoors with my husband and dogs.

Marissa A

Ashley Haley, RD, LD

Director of Continuing Education

I love food! It is my passion to learn about and share delicious, nutritious foods with all. I am originally from San Antonio, TX. I completed my undergrad at Texas State University and then my Dietetic Internship at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Since then, I have spent the past 15 years supporting K-12 child nutrition programs nationwide. Currently, I lead an amazing team of 15 Dietitians/Nutritionists. We get to collaborate with operations, culinary, marketing and procurement to provide nourishing food and excellent service to the school districts we partner with.  I also enjoy outdoor activities like running, swimming, and gardening. My husband and I have been in Austin since 2008 and are also involved in our son’s school and sports activities.

Melinda Nguyen

Genesis Valdes, RD, LD

Media Chair

I love being a dietitian because I enjoy learning how culture influences our food choices and behaviors around food. I’ve been privileged to work with the Hispanic Community in Austin to provide nutrition counseling and classes. I am passionate about bridging the gap in nutrition services for Spanish-Speaking patients. I currently work for a DME company providing support to families of children needing enteral nutrition.

In my free time, I enjoy swimming and hiking in Central Texas and trying foods from all types of cuisine. As the Social Media Chair, I hope to increase DCTX’s Instagram, Facebook, and Linkedin engagement with local dietitians and use my creativity to produce visually appealing content.

Melinda Nguyen

Sarah Harris, RDN, LD

Website Chair

I’m excited to take on the role of website chair to keep dietitians in the community up to date on the happenings within this organization.   I first dipped my toes into website design 3 years ago when I built my own website and launched my private practice, Healthy Hive Family Nutrition, where I provide pediatric nutrition counseling. Prior to that, I spent 10+ years working for a food service management company in child nutrition in varying roles including Operations Support and Director of Learning and Development. I’m originally from Idaho, and now live in Austin with my husband 2 daughters. In my free time I enjoy reading, gardening, yoga, travel and exploring the Austin food scene.

Melinda Nguyen

Megan Hall, MPH, RD

Wellness Symposium Chair

Hello! I’m excited to serve as chair and plan a fun, member-driven Wellness Symposium to bring together dietitians in Central Texas.

Growing up on a small farm in rural Wisconsin, I developed an appreciation for fresh, seasonal produce and a supportive, close-knit community, which shaped my interests in nutrition, food access, and eating behavior. Focusing on community and behavioral health and nutrition, I earned a Masters of Public Health from Tulane University, where I also completed the Dietetic Internship and worked as a clinical dietitian prior to moving to Austin.

Once in the great state of Texas, I returned to community nutrition, first working at the Central Texas Food Bank managing federal child nutrition programs. Now, as the Regional Program Director of Texas for Brighter Bites, I’m grateful to work at the intersection of health, food access, and behavior change to create communities of health through fresh food.

When not in front of a computer, you’ll find me taking my pup, Willie, on walks or paddleboarding adventures or strolling through a vintage clothing pop-up.

In my free time, I enjoy swimming and hiking in Central Texas and trying foods from all types of cuisine. 

Melinda Nguyen

Kiswa Mahar

Student Liaison

I am a recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, where I completed the DPD program with a second major in Economics in December 2023. My journey into the field of dietetics was sparked by a mission to address the significant lack of nutrition education in my home country, Pakistan. Motivated by the desire to make a positive impact, I chose the path of a dietetics professional with the goal of educating and empowering those who need it most.

As I embark on my role as a Student Liaison and member at DCTX, I bring a deep passion for clinical nutrition. Joining the vibrant community at DCTX, I am eager to expand within this collective of wonderful nutrition professionals as well as learn on how to successfully make a difference in the community!

When not immersed in my studies or work, you’ll likely find me at the gym or spending quality time with my family and siblings. I also enjoy going to my favorite parks in Austin whenever the Texas weather allows. I am excited to bring my unique perspective, knowledge, and enthusiasm for dietetics to the dynamic community at DCTX!

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