Brooke Odendahl

Friends help Brooke solidify her career aspirations

With a passion for helping others, Brooke always thought she would be an elementary school teacher. However, throughout high school, she started to doubt her career choice as she recognized a new love: nutrition.

“I took a nutrition class at [a] community college my junior year,” she said. “I began to see how food impacted the body, but I didn’t know how to transfer that into a career.”

Brooke turned to her parents first, who both work in health fields. They listened to her concerns and helped her realize she could combine her enjoyment for assisting others and interest in nutrition into one career: a registered dietitian.

At first, Brooke felt worried about switching her career path; however, several experiences with friends solidified her decision. As a young girl she helped her friend who was diagnosed with diabetes at age four.

“I helped whenever I could,” she said. “I would remind her to use her meter, give her strips, and prick her finger – everything I could do at that age. Seeing the aftermath of what my assistance did and how food impacted her life was interesting to me even then.”

Although moving to Ames for college meant forfeiting her role with her high school friend, Brooke found a new friend to help: her roommate with celiac disease. Together they shop for groceries, check labels, and research different recipes that fit her dietary needs.

Moving forward, Brooke hopes she never stops assisting people with their dietary needs, but she also wants to help those struggling with eating disorders.

“It bothers me when I see it,” she said. “I know there’s a psychological reason behind it, but I also know there’s something I can do to help. I could not be happier with the career I have chosen, and I cannot wait to see where my chosen path takes me.”