Meet the

DCTX Board


Interested in Becoming a Member?

Jill G

Jill Galligher, RD, LD

Executive Director

Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, I am a Registered Dietitian who is passionate about my work.  After graduating from West Virginia University, I completed my dietetic internship through Adagio Health, an agency providing WIC for outlying areas of Pittsburgh.  Once I passed my RD exam, I worked at a skilled nursing facility in Naples, FL and an acute care hospital in Arlington, VA.  After meeting my husband, I moved to Austin in 2013 and have been working with ESRD patients at CVS Satellite ever since.  In my spare time I enjoy traveling, working out, baking, and playing with my dog.  

Fun Fact: I rowed for my high school crew team and had a college scholarship for it!

Melinda Nguyen

Melinda Nguyen, MS, RD, LD

Director of Member Engagement (ED-Elect)

I am so excited to serve as social chair because I love planning events to gather people. I look forward to hosting fun events for everyone to network, get to know other dietitians and enjoy everything Austin has to offer. I have extensive lists of restaurants and things to do, so if you need ideas or places just let me know!

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 have enjoyed working with everyone. I hope to see you at a social event.

Jill G

Alma Celis, RD

Director of Continuing Education

I am so excited to serve as Director of Continuing Education! 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 and finding parks to enjoy at sunset. I am passionate about sustainability, cooking, all things food service! As a new graduate, I look forward to learning and providing Continuing Education opportunities with the organization.

Jill G

Beth K. Thorson, MS, RDN

Director of Diversity & Inclusion

Having spent my entire career in community nutrition programs, I’ve seen – and continue to see – first hand the challenges of improving population health through our dietary patterns.  It’s an exciting ride as we pursue the basic human right to fresh, safe, affordable, and culturally-appropriate foods in all communities.
Currently I work at the Texas Department of Agriculture in the Food and Nutrition Division.  We oversee twelve of the federally funded food assistance programs.
I’m an active volunteer in our 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 26 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

Layla Mays, RD, LD

Director of Administration

As a member of DCTX for over four years, I am excited to serve as Director of Administration. I joined the organization while I completed my internship at Texas State University and have enjoyed networking and making new friends.

Currently, I work in agriculture specializing in social media, digital marketing, and nutrition communications. Additionally, I am a professional food photographer and get to work in collaboration with food stylists and local magazines. I am grateful that my career as a dietitian allows me to combine my creativity with my passion for nutrition.

In my spare time, I enjoy doing pilates, baking, and cooking.

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 feel grateful to work in school nutrition because implementing early intervention through nutrition education and daily exposure while combating hunger in our community is incredibly rewarding. 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, scholarship opportunities, and more. On a lighter note, I am an avid true crime enthusiast and I will happily spend hours discussing cold cases and theories with anyone who is game.

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

Jane Heetderks-Cox, MS, RDN, LD

Board Advisor of Continuing Education

As a veteran dietitian (literally, a 20-year military career) and currently, as a consultant dietitian, I’ve had decades of experience holding a variety of positions within dietetics. What’s enabled these opportunities?  Continuing education, training, and mentoring! Whether you’re a seasoned dietitian or just starting out, I would love to help you receive outstanding continuing education opportunities to explore, grow, and keep abreast of the ever-changing field of nutrition and dietetics. To build knowledge, increase skills and help launch or advance your career.

Throughout my career,  I’ve held positions including Certified Nutrition Support Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, Diabetes Disease Manager, Health Promotion Nutrition Manager, Patient Tray Services Director, Nutrition Services Director, Air Force Consultant Dietitian and currently, a self-employed consultant dietitian helping organizations build healthy food environments. I was the former President of the Austin Dietetic Association from 2012-2013 and Continuing Education Director from 2011-2012.

In my spare time, I’m proud parent of 2 teens, an avid mountain biker (look me up on Strava!), active in my church, and finally, just started taking Salsa dance lessons!

Marissa A

Sarah Winkler, MS, RD, LD

Website Editor

I love being a dietitian because I work with both food and people; I get to provide nutritious meals to school aged children. I plan to collaborate with other DCTX board members to keep the DCTX website as up to date and informative as possible. A fun fact about me is I love to bake! Before I knew I would to be an RD, I wanted to open up a dog treat bakery.

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

Megan Hall, MPH, RD

Wellness Symposium Co-Chair

Hello! I’m excited to serve as co-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. 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

Natalie Powell

Student Liaison

I am a senior in the undergraduate DPD program at Texas State University and a soon to be graduate! I am new to DCTX, both as a member and as a liaison, and I look forward to expanding within this collective of wonderful nutrition professionals.

A switch to vegetarianism and a complicated history with food brought me to this field, and I couldn’t have found a better fit for myself.

When I’m not studying or working, I like to spend my time being creative in the kitchen or being outside with my mini Australian Shepherd, Charlie!

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