Alumni spotlight: Sara (Heaps) Eugene

Photo, left: Sara with her husband, Junior, and their children Laila and Jarrett.

2007, B.S. Nutrition

Current organization/ employer: Minneapolis Public Schools Culinary and Nutrition Services

Favorite memory of campus:
Meeting my husband (also a Golden Gopher) on campus in 2003!

Why did you choose CFANS as a college?
My older sister and I would drive through campus nearly every day on the way to our downtown Minneapolis high school. I remember being in awe of the students I'd see walking down the street on their way to class. I vowed that one day I would be among them! I also knew early on that I wanted to study food and nutrition. CFANS (at the time, COAFES) was a natural choice!

Why do you think the University of Minnesota is great?
As a top-notch academic institution, the University of Minnesota provided me a prestigious degree. Even more, I gained a wonderful overall college experience. From living on campus and meeting new friends to late-night studying in the libraries, it was during my college years at the U that I developed much of the independence and self-confidence needed to suceed in the "real world."

Career information/ professional achievements:
- National Health Corps Member, North Florida Division
-University of Florida Extended Food and Nutrition Program/Jacksonville Children's Commission, 2007-2008
-Baker County Health Department, 2008-2009
- National Health Corps Representative in Philadelphia, PA
- Nutrition Assistant, Jacksonville Children's Commission, 2009-2012
- Food Service Supervisor, Regions Hospial, 2012-2014
- Dietetic Specialist, Minneapolis Public Schools, 2012-2013
- Coordinator, Extended School Meals, Minneapolis Public Schools, 2014-present

What's your passion? What do you love about your work and your field?
My passion aligns with the mission statement of my current workplace: "Nuturing Students through Access to Quality Food." I love that my passion and my work are one in the same. I work directly with the Minneapolis community to expand our food programs to reduce hunger and food insecurity. I know that only once a child is fed good, quality food can successful learning take place - and love that it's my job as part of the MPS team to make that possible.

How did your education at the U of M help prepare you for what you are doing today?
My education gave me the Food and Nutriton knowledge that provided the framework for my work experience.

What advice do you have for current students (and future alumni)?
Make positive connections. You never know when you may cross paths with others again!