Q&A With Emma Baer

Baer is a senior in nutrition and exercise physiology

Why did you decide to come to the University of Missouri and major in nutrition and exercise physiology, with a focus in human physiology and translational sciences? What do you enjoy about the program itself? The field of study?

Coming to Mizzou as a pre-med student, I knew I wanted a degree program that would provide me the core knowledge I needed to advance throughout my studies, but that would also engage me and my interests in the process. I landed on this particular path because I had a basic understanding of the impact nutrition had on overall health, wanted to learn more about this specific part of science and the program met my educational goals. While there are so many great things about the program, I have really enjoyed every single one of my nutrition professors and classes so far and have felt encouraged and supported by each. The field of study is so interesting to me because I believe there is so much potential for nutrition education to be integrated into modern medical practice and hope to one day be able to do just that.

Could you talk about how the University of Missouri, with a specific focus on the nutrition and exercise physiology degree program, prepares you for life after college?

Throughout my time at Mizzou and in my degree program I have had many moments that comfort me as I look toward life after college. Nutrition is such a broad field of study, and I believe this program encompasses it quite well. There is such a variety of nutrition courses, professional electives, and other upper level science courses included in our degree plan that I know I am receiving a well-rounded education. My classmates and I are regularly challenged to think critically about applying relevant themes in our coursework to our lives now, as well as in our intended careers.  As I look to attend medical school following graduation, this approach allows me to feel well prepared as both a student and an individual.

CAFNR encourages students to have a variety of extracurricular experiences during their time at MU, including research and study abroad, as part of its RISE Initiative. Have you participated in any research projects or study abroad programs, or any other extracurricular experiences? If so, what have you enjoyed about those?

I have been working as an undergraduate assistant in the laboratory of Dr. Elizabeth Parks in the department of NEP and MU School of Medicine, and have learned so much in the process. I love being able to take classroom information and apply it to hands-on learning in the lab, and getting to learn about our research and other areas of science from peers, graduate and doctoral students, and nutrition professionals. These things are so valuable and something I would not have without my experience in research. In addition to my research position, I have served on the Homecoming Steering Committee, was a member of the founding executive board for Phi Delta Epsilon, a professional medical fraternity, and am currently on leadership for Omicron Delta Kappa. These experiences have allowed me to make a large campus feel small, meet and lead with students I would not have otherwise met, step out of my comfort zone, and gain an immense appreciation for all that our school has to offer.

What has been your favorite activity or experience of being a Mizzou student?

I came to Mizzou looking forward to taking part in the traditions and embracing the community the same way others in my family have before me, and being able to do so is definitely my favorite experience as a student. I was able to do this firsthand when serving on the Homecoming Steering Committee, and had an incredible time meeting other students and alumni with the same passion for those things that I have. With such a diverse group, we all were able to show support for our campus and respective colleges in different ways and I really valued the opportunity to witness that.