For someone whose initial plan was to be a registered dietitian and not return to college, Kendra Kattelmann’s career plan went awry.
Kattelmann ’77, a distinguished professor and department head in South Dakota State University’s College of Education and Human Sciences, will be presented the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ 2020 Medallion Award in October.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics will recognize Kattelmann for her contributions to the nutrition and dietetics profession Oct. 18 at the 2020 Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo™ in Indianapolis.
“When I graduated from SDSU, I was so happy to be out of school. I was a distinguished military graduate from ROTC and on my way to a dietetic internship in the U.S. Army. When I graduated, I never anticipated I’d go on for a Ph.D. but I discovered that I always felt like there was more to learn. I pursued my master’s and later, when the opportunity arose for a doctorate. I pursued it.”
Kattelmann, an Avon native, started as a dietetics intern for the U.S. Army after being a first-generation college graduate.
“The Army and being active my professional organization provided many opportunities to meet different people and different mentors,” she said, noting she stayed active with professional organizations her entire career. “I never thought I’d have these opportunities that have come along in my career.
“There have been a lot of successes but there have also been a lot of doors closed. I’ve always had the mindset that when one door closes, another opens and that provides other opportunities,” Kattelmann continued. “When SDSU opened a door for me, I took it. SDSU has provided with many opportunities to enhance my career and also support others as they start their careers. I tell students you might not get the first thing you want to do, but when that door closes, another door opens and that’s how I’ve looked at life.
In addition to serving as president of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior, Kattelmann has led university initiatives, state activities and constantly promoted the dietetics profession. She has also garnered more than $13 million in research funding.
“This was quite unexpected and quite an honor. I am very excited to receive the recognition. The committee looks at your total portfolio, not just the work you do at work but also the work you do to support the professions of dietetics and nutrition,” said Kattelmann, who acknowledged she was surprised at what she has accomplished since starting as an SDSU faculty member in 1997.
“When the opportunity was there, I was able to say yes, tackle the project and move the profession forward,” she continued. “In the state of South Dakota, the biggest impact I’ve done is to support the profession. Our program has graduates, a majority of whom now have master’s, working and leading the profession.”
Kattelmann, honored as the state’s outstanding dietitian in 2005, was a driving force getting SDSU’s dietetic internship program accredited and having the internship relocated to the SDSU campus. She has also led nutrition education programs in the state as well as internationally.
“Dr. Kattelmann is richly deserving of this Medallion Award from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It exemplifies her outstanding contributions to her profession as a researcher, teacher and collaborator,” said Jill Thorngren, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences. “Regardless of the position or role she holds, Dr. Kattelmann is a passionate advocate and leader. We couldn’t be happier or prouder of her success and achievements.”