A passion for food, cooking, and wellness, combined with a love for the Midwestern way of life and Illinois State University, resulted in Desiray Yeaw ‘16 M.S., R.D., L.D.N., leaving her home state of California to join the Event Management, Dining, and Hospitality (EMDH) team as their Registered Dietitian.

Now, she wants to share her knowledge and passion with you! Beginning next week, Yeaw will take over EMDH’s social media pages once a week to provide followers with nutrition and wellness tips for eating on campus. Follow EMDH on: Facebook, @EventsandFoodatISU; Instagram, @EventsandFoodatISU; and Twitter, @EventsFoodISU.

To get to know EMDH’s Registered Dietitian, read on.

What are your qualifications and where did you earn your degrees?
I earned my Bachelor of Science in food and nutrition sciences, and minored in communication and coaching at Fresno State. Then, I came to Illinois State University where I earned my Master of Science in family and consumer sciences. While at Illinois State, I also completed a dietetic internship to become a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian.

Why did you decide to become a Registered Dietitian, and why are you passionate about your field and health in general?
I have always found food, cooking, and wellness to be completely fascinating. I remember cutting out recipes, workouts, and the nutrition pages from seventeen magazine when I was in Jr. High and High School. However, when I moved away to college and was on my own for the first time I found it difficult to navigate the dining center and totally fell out of sync with an exercise routine. My first year at Fresno State in 2009, I ended up in a “Nutrition 101” general education class that changed my life. I learned some basics about food, nutrition, and eating that blew my mind and I needed to know more! After some digging through the course catalog, I discovered that there was a major for this and at that point was no longer “undecided” about what field I wanted to study.

Fast forward through six more years of school and here I am! Along the way, I learned so much about the science of nutrition, psychology of eating, human behavior, and the food industry. Food is all around us. We need it to survive, it can be a part of our lives as social beings, and sometimes it can even be a part of our identity! I love my job because I get to share nutrition science to help others navigate the crazy complex food world that we live in. Sometimes when people hear “dietitian” they assume the food police are in town, but that is not how I approach my work. I strive to be more of “the people’s dietitian” because I believe that all foods fit into a healthy diet. I want to promote health and wellness on campus by translating the scientific evidence into messages that help us all feel like empowered and confident eaters.

Where are you originally from?
Quartz Hill, California (near Los Angeles)

What brought you to Illinois and made you choose Illinois State University?
I came to ISU for graduate school and a dietetic internship. I had never been to Illinois before I moved here and felt instantly at home at ISU. Even though most people look at me like I am crazy when I say I moved here from California, there is something about the Midwest way of life that I love. In addition, I had never actually experienced all four seasons before, so that was a plus!

What are a few of your hobbies outside of work?
Some of my hobbies outside of work include playing volleyball, doing yoga, reading, and all things related to eating!

What are you most looking forward to in regards to taking over EMDH’s social media accounts once a week?
I feel like this can be a doorway into all things EMDH nutrition and wellness for students, faculty, and staff at ISU. The media is bombarded with so much conflicting (and sometimes negative) information about what foods are bad, what we should not eat, what we should eat, and everything in between. It is my hope that this initiative will contribute to ISU’s overall atmosphere of wellness by promoting nutrition awareness in a fun and positive way.