ATXRD Board Members2020-2021
Caroline Patrick, MS, RD, LD
I love working as a dietitian because we hold such a unique position to walk alongside people as they seek their own version of health. It’s challenging, but important work to help people heal or develop positive relationships with food and their bodies. In doing so, we provide people with more freedom to fully engage in their relationships, their careers, and their passions.
As Executive Director of this amazing community, I aspire to work with our dedicated board members to continue to provide programming that meets the needs of our members and their professional pursuits. I also aim to increase the diversity within our current and future community, amplifying the voices that we don’t often see within our field. Through education, discussion, and outreach, I believe we can start working towards an even more inclusive and diverse field of nutrition professionals in Austin.
Fun fact: I majored in Film & Television for 2 years with the intention of creating documentaries and/or editing films prior to switching to study Nutrition.
Lubna Qureshi, MDS, RDN, LD
Director of Member Engagement (ED-Elect)
I absolutely love being a dietitian and consider myself fortunate to help people make healthier and sustainable changes and improve their quality of life. Of course, there are challenges in the profession of dietetics but the rewards are never ending if the focus is on helping others. As RDs we, for sure, are making a difference.
Serving as the Director of Member Engagement of ATXRD, I want to reach out to our members to understand their needs, ideas and concerns so as a team we can serve them in the best possible way by providing the needed resources, programs and activities. Our growth is dependent on working with the members and, for the members, so communication is the key. I would also like to get in touch with non-member RDs in the area, to explore the possibility of sharing services and expertise.
I have been playing Dholki (Indian/Pakistani drum) since the age of 14 and can sing and play dozens of Bollywood tunes.
Marissa Albers, MPH, RD
Director of Continuing Education
I love being a registered dietitian because it transcends so many different fields! I love being able to combine my love for nutrition, agriculture, and public health into one profession. I am equally passionate about educating and enabling people to achieve healthy lifestyles through individualized counseling and environmental changes.
I believe CEUs are an opportunity to spark curiosity, inspire self-learning, and reignite passion within the field. As Director of Continuing Education, I aim to provide accessible learning opportunities that resonate with our members’ interests and inspire current and future registered dietitians to take their career one step further.
Fun Fact: My perfect morning is sipping a cup of coffee selling veggies at a local farmers market! I fell in love with small scale farming and food systems while studying horticulture at Texas A&M University where I ran the student-farm on campus, the Howdy Farm. It was there that I realized my passion for connecting people to their food source and learned that healthy food starts with healthy soil!
Vanessa Beltran, RD, LD
Director of Diversity & Inclusion
The pursuit of food justice, defined as the basic human right to fresh, safe, affordable, and culturally-appropriate foods in ALL communities, is one of my life’s passions. As a dietitian, it is my privilege to hold stories of self, culture, and want for the communities I serve. No two patients are the same, which makes every encounter a creative and dynamic space. Eating, and making meaning of what we eat, is a profoundly human act and where the adaptive challenge to improve population health through our dietary patterns lies. I love being a dietitian because I get a front row seat to daily transformations in people’s lives, which inspires me to advocate for food justice and systems-level change.
I would like to mobilize our community around the need for inclusion, and equitable representation of, underrepresented minorities in dietetics. Efforts in recruitment, membership, and ATXRD programming through Diversity and Inclusion will be aimed at making ATXRD a welcoming and life-giving space for all.
I have two small dogs, Lilly and Scooby. If you knew nothing else about me, that would be enough – they are my heart.
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 ATXRD. 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 Kissko, RDN
Director of Administration
I love being an eating disorder dietitian because I get to help my clients get out of diet culture, build a healthy relationship with food and their body, and support them in living a full life, free of their eating disorder. I proudly practice from Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size paradigm. I love being a dietitian because the field of nutrition and health is so dynamic, that there is always more to learn and improve upon within my practice.
As director of administration, my goals are to keep everything organized and running smoothly behind the scenes of this great organization, and to make all RDNs/students feel welcome and find their foodie home away from home. I am excited to take on this new role!
I will be getting married in a couple months! I’m one of the many people who had to change their wedding plans because of COVID-19, and my fiance and I will go to the courthouse in a couple months to tie the knot. We’ve had to grieve the loss of our dream wedding, but we are so excited to get married! (and then to celebrate with friends and family once it’s safe.)
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 ATXRD 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.
Julia Lehle, RD, LD
Advisory Board Member
I love being dietitian because I get to learn how the food we eat affects our bodies. Whether it is physiological, to provide energy, or psychological, to provide pleasure, food affects everyone differently, offering dietitians a unique opportunity to help individuals navigate their way towards a lifestyle that includes a healthier understanding of how to eat for their body. I also appreciate being a part of an amazing dietetic community in Austin, Texas! I truly enjoy meeting and learning from other dietitians and dietetic students.
My goals as the Advisory Board Member is to listen and support the ATXRD members and the ATXRD board. I am excited to be a part of a group of strong leaders that comprise the ATXRD board. The entire board and I understand the importance of membership feedback and will continue to review all feedback to better serve our members throughout the membership year. My aspirations for the membership year include increasing our diverse membership of dietitians and dietetic students, deliver evidence based research to grow the knowledge of our community, and encourage member alliances to create a supportive network of dietetic professionals.
A fun fact about myself is that I have climbed the Guadalupe Mountains to stand on top of Guadalupe Peak (the highest point in Texas, 8,749 feet). It was an amazing view and would recommend the hiking adventure to anyone!
Rebecca Rigby, RD, LD
Board Advisor of Continuing Education
Previously, I have worked at the Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Woven Health Clinic. In these roles, I conducted motivational interviewing and helped individuals set goals that had a meaningful impact on their daily lives. In 2018, I took that expertise to Baylor Scott and White Health where I currently coordinate the internal employee health and wellness program, Thrive, across areas of central Texas. I enjoy the challenges of program development, digital content creation, and health outreach and engagement for 2000+ employees.
I have served on ATXRD’s board since 2017, as a Student Liaison, Newsletter Editor, Director of Continuing Education (CE), and currently the Board Advisor to the CE Director. This 2020 membership year I look forward to supporting and guiding the CE Director to ensure that ATXRD maintains its CEU Accredited Provider status and provides CEUs that are of the most interest to ATXRD members.
Fun fact: I have a love and interest for promoting entomophagy as way of diversifying protein options that supports the health of humans and the environment. Still trying to convince my roommate to let me start a mealworm farm. Learn more about entomophagy from the non-profit Little Herds.
Sarah Winkler, MS, RD, LD
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 ATXRD board members to keep the ATXRD 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.
I’m so excited to be your Newsletter Editor this year! I love being an RD because I enjoy helping improve my patient’s lives with nutrition, as well as being on the cutting edge of food and nutrition trends. I hope to accomplish creating interesting, well-written newsletters for our members this year. A fun fact about me is that I met my husband by petting his (now our) dog at a bar on Rainey Street when I was visiting from Washington, D.C.
I was born in Montreal, Canada to Tunisian-born immigrants. However, Austin, TX has been my home for the last fifteen years. I am currently a senior in Texas State’s Dietetics program where I am an active member of the Student Nutrition Organization.
My passion for nutrition and wellness started when I received my holistic health coach certification at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Although I learned a lot in that program about coaching people to develop healthier habits, I felt my that the science aspect was lacking. That is when I realized that I needed to pursue a career as a registered dietician.
I am also an avid rock climber and member of the Texas State Climbing Team. I find so much joy in pushing my body and conquering mental limitations through the sport. I am excited about my future career in the Dietetics industry and finding a way to merge habit & lifestyle coaching with the science of nutrition.
I love learning about a topic that matters to me and is truly interesting to me. It’s applicable in my day to day, personal life and will of course be applicable in my career. I’ve been reading and learning about nutrition on my own for years so to be able to learn about it in an academic setting and alongside others who are just as interested in it, it’s really a special experience.
I hope to bring in more members from UT and UT alum. In addition, I hope to help out with any current obstacles that we are facing with the pandemic!
I have a degree from the University of Texas at Austin in Communication Studies but after three years of working, I decided that I really wanted to pursue a passion of mine and that was becoming a dietician.
As a dietetic student I have had the pleasure of meeting and learning from a variety of professionals from a variety of fields in dietetics. I have gained many different perspectives of health and wellness as well as a range of knowledge in sciences such as organic chemistry, genetics, and biochemistry.
As a University Liaison I want to bring awareness of just how vast the field of dietetics is to my fellow dietetic classmates. I want to be able to share valuable opportunities and have the ability to connect students with professionals in the field their studying in.
My first job was working as a cashier at a family owned BBQ restaurant in my home city when I was 16. By the time I turned 18, I was promoted to the position of assistant manager. I really enjoyed learning the business aspect of food service!
I love being a dietetics student because I enjoy learning how to help people navigate their relationship with food and how to support their health through diet. I like learning the biochemistry of nutrition and how research is always adding to our understanding. I am excited to be a part of a field that is people-focused, evidence-based, and full of heart.
In my role at ATXRD this year my goal is to promote mentorship as a valuable resource for our students and a truly rewarding opportunity to give back for ATXRD members. I hope to empower our students to engage with the professional world so that they can be informed and connected with their future careers.
Fun fact: I am a standup comedy fanatic and love the art of storytelling. I often drag my boyfriend to open mics to support local comics in the area! One of my life goals is to attend the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal, which is the largest comedy festival in the world.
I love being a student of the dietetics program. I get to learn about some of the most interesting topics. Dietetics is such a diverse subject and it touches on so many aspects in life. I have learned a lot of fascinating information ranging from the most basic cells and functions in the human body to how milk ends up on a shelf at my local grocery store. Everything is affected by nutrition, and that opens up a world of possibilities to create change around me.
I think it is important to network and build connections with Dietitians around you. I hope that by connecting with ATXRD, more students and individuals will be able to bring in new ideas, more inclusion, and create more diversity within the Nutrition community.
Fun fact: I have three kidneys!
Wellness Symposium Co-chair
Wellness Symposium Co-chair