Graduate Student Mentors

Graduate Student Mentors – bios/contacts

Caitlin Clark

Caitlin Clark is a master’s candidate interested in food fermentation. Her research concerns the processing steps unique to small-batch chocolate making and their effect on flavor quality. Outside of school, she loves reading, making sourdough bread, and finding wildflowers on hikes.

Daniel Davila

With undergraduate degrees in Culinary Arts and Nutrition, Daniel is hoping to round out his education on all things food by getting his MS in Food Science at CSU. Having experience as a research chef and food product developer, he is focusing his research on plant-based proteins in food processing with the hopes of working on the development of future “mock meat” products. In his free time he likes to cook, play board games, and compete in triathlons.

Mackenzie Ferrante, MS, RDN – graduate committee student representative

Mackenzie is a 3rd year PhD Student in the Health Behaviors Lab (HBL). Mackenzie earned her BA in Economics from the University of Washington and her MS RDN at the University of Idaho. While in Idaho she studied young child feeding and family mealtime communication. During her stint at U of I she conducted mealtime research in Ghana, Taiwan, and Mexico and hopes to one day get back to international research. Her work in the HBL at CSU focuses on examining nutrition and physical activity behaviors and environments in early childhood, obesity intervention design and understanding family food choices in restaurants. Her dissertation will focus on using behavioral economic strategies to help families/children make more healthful decisions in restaurants. In her personal life Mackenzie loves both cooking and photographing food (especially Thai and Italian food), her fat, orange cat, Cheddar, and drinking whiskey.

Dustin Lee

Dustin is a PhD student in the Integrative Cardiovascular Physiology Lab. We are interested in the role that the gut microbiota plays in the development of vascular dysfunction. Prior to my current graduate studies, I worked as a clinical dietitian. I hope to tie my current basic science training and prior clinical experience together in future research. In my spare time I enjoy getting into nature, whether that be on a bike or foot.

Nicole Litwin, MS, RD

Nicole is a PhD candidate in Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State University, specializing in Functional Foods for Health. Nicole holds a BS in Nutrition and Food Science and a MS in Clinical Nutrition from East Tennessee State University, where she also completed her dietetics training. Nicole is originally from middle Tennessee and is a first generation college student. Prior to her PhD, Nicole worked as a consulting dietitian in Chicago, IL for food companies translating nutrition science into understandable and usable information for consumers, health professionals, and company stakeholders. Nicole’s broad research interests include identifying efficacious dietary interventions to improve vascular function for promoting cardiovascular health and disease prevention. Nicole is an active member in several organizations and has held leadership positions with the Research Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Nutrition Translation Research Interest Section of the American Society for Nutrition, and the Rocky Mountain Section of the Institute of Food Technologists. After graduation, Nicole plans to pursue a career in the food industry with hopes of formulating healthy food products and conducting human clinical research on the health effects of such products. In her free time, Nicole loves to explore Colorado as much as she can! She is an avid hiker and runner and, of course, loves trying all the craft beer that Colorado has to offer!

Andrew Stratford

Andrew is a 2nd-year graduate student focusing on community nutrition, and he aims to become a registered dietitian when he graduates. Currently, he hopes to be a clinical dietitian, although this changes with the wind, so who knows? His Plan B research project focuses on the correlation between mealtime variation and diet quality. When he's not studying nutrition, Andrew volunteers for the Women and Gender Advocacy Center as an advocate with the Victim Assistance Team that assists victims of sexual assault. He also has a love/hate relationship with chess depending on if he's winning or losing.