Sarah Menzel

Sarah plans to help children

Sarah’s path to dietetics started when she was diagnosed with celiac disease at age 15. Naturally, she needed to start a strict gluten-free diet. She and family starting researching, but Sarah sought out a professional to help her transition into the new diet.

“I’m very sensitive to gluten,” she said. “Even the smell of it makes my throat close. My mom read every book the library had, but we wanted that face-to-face interaction.”

Sarah went to three different dietitians for her first two months being gluten-free. They helped develop a balanced diet and educated her on what foods she could or could not eat.

When she was a senior and thinking about her career goals after graduation, she decided to look into being a dietitian herself, so she shadowed a pediatric clinical dietitian.

“She took me to the NICU [neonatal intensive care unit], and I was able to see her work with premature infants,” she said. “I saw how she got to be with kids all day every day and how she made a difference – I knew then I wanted to go into pediatrics.”

Currently, Sarah works at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines, putting together and delivering food trays for patients. She also spends time at ChildServe in Johnston where she helps kids who need special diets.

Sarah said she enjoys both of her positions and can’t decide where she wants to work following graduation. What she does know is she wants to stay in Iowa and help kids with dietary restrictions.

“I don’t foresee myself leaving Iowa,” she said. “I want to be where I have family. As long as I’m helping kids, I’ll be happy.”