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Why Students pursue TOP

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Involvement in the TOP program enhances and complements a Master’s or Doctoral degree through experiential experiences incorporated into the graduate level coursework. Graduate students from any discipline with an interest in childhood obesity prevention are encouraged to pursue the TOP certificate. The cause of childhood obesity is multifaceted and strategies to prevent and treat it need to be transdisciplinary. TOP students will collaborate and work closely with faculty experts in diverse fields of study including faculty in Nutrition, Exercise Science, Early Childhood Education, Nursing, Counseling and Statistics. Earning a TOP certificate distinguishes an individual from others in the field and produces expertise in a competitive job market in need of qualified professionals. Experiences gained as a TOP student will prepare graduates for collaborations with individuals in other disciplines in a career aimed at reducing childhood obesity.

"As nutritionists and dietitians, we usually look at physical activity and nutrition and a little bit of genetics. Through this program, we learn about all different angles that contribute to childhood obesity.” Celine Kabala, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

“Since our nation is under such a huge obesity crisis, there will be more programs to help with this issue. It’s great if you are certified and can use more of a transdisciplinary approach to combatting this epidemic.” Alyssa Koens, Dell Rapids, South Dakota

“I thought the TOP program would be a great opportunity to get hands-on learning experience in the collaboration of different disciplines . . . this problem can’t be tackled by one discipline; we need approaches from all sides.” Megan Olesen, Estherville, Iowa