Sora Julie Lee, RDN, LD is the current Diversity Liaison for NvAND. She is a clinical dietitian at Veterans Affairs. Sora Lee has served on the NvAND board for two years and joined to increase diversity in dietetics and increase cultural competency in our practice. While serving on the board she has learned more about NvAND’s role in disseminating crucial and helpful information to the members which allows her to be informed about our dietetic community and provides networking opportunities. Sora Lee stated that learning about the efforts and impacts NvAND makes in our community has been the most positive experience of serving on the board. Sora Lee thinks fellow members questioning if they should serve on the board most definitely should! It provides a supportive learning space that may bring opportunities and skill sets to enhance your profession. Sora Lee loves that NvAND has such a positive and supportive environment that celebrates and encourages each other.
The Diversity Liaison serves a 2-year term.
The month of November has finally come to an end, and so has the completion of our first academy fundraiser! The results of the Step-Into-Fall Challenge are in, and I’m pleased to share that we’ve had considerable efforts made by participants to earn the title as one of the top prizewinners who will receive prize baskets! Since the excitement to win was shared equally among Board and Non-Board members, I’ve decided that two in each group should be recognized for their hard work. The awardees and their noteworthy step records are shown below. Thank you to everyone who participated, your support of NvAND is extremely appreciated! I look forward to holding future fundraising events with all of you- stay safe and keep moving and grooving!
Highest Cumulative Stepper/Most Steps in a Single Day - Joaquin Farr
This participant wishes to remain anonymous, but stepped into the competition with the creative alias above. This participant definitely lived up to their name, earning a spot in First Place with a total of 369,132 steps for the duration of the challenge. This participant also achieved the most steps in a single day, weighing in at 50,193 steps in one day, wowza!
Second Highest Cumulative Stepper - Brandy Kuebler
Brandy came in Second Place, with a total of 240,978 steps for the duration of the challenge. She remained active throughout the competition, and her hard work truly paid off. Way to go Brandy!
Highest Cumulative Stepper - Jake Yarberry
Jake was determined to earn the title of highest stepper for the entire three weeks, and managed to achieve this winning spot at First Place with a total of 573,891 steps for the duration of the challenge. He also came close to winning the most steps in a single day, totaling 53,009 but just fell short of Kara’s single day total. His endless determination, however, led him to become the highest stepper among all participants in the challenge. Bravo and well done, Jake!
Second Highest Cumulative Stepper/Most Steps in a Single Day - Kara Freeman
Kara set the bar for the challenge since the very beginning- she averaged 20-30 thousand steps a day, working nonstop to be the one to beat. She came out successfully in Second Place, with a total of 570,435 steps for the duration of the challenge. As if this number wasn’t already hard to top, try accumulating 53,442 steps in a single day! Kara, you take the gold on this title, and major applause for hitting daily records. Amazing job!
McKenzie Mayor, RDN, LD
NvAND Fundraising Chair
This upcoming year the Consumer Protection Coordinator (CPC) position which serves a 2-year term will be open. The 2-year term of Licensure Liaison will also be open.
Laura J. Kruskall, PhD, RDN, CSSD, LD, FACSM, FAND, serves as both the current CPC and Licensure Liaison for NvAND. Dr Kruskall currently works at UNLV in the Nutrition Sciences department. Dr. Kruskall is Founding Director of UNLV Dietetic Internship, MS Nutrition Sciences program and the UNLV Nutrition Center.
Dr. Kruskall has volunteered on the NvAND board numerous times in the past. The positions held include Media Rep, Nominating Committee, President (2010-2011), CPC (2018-Present), Annual Meeting Chair (2018-2019). Dr. Kruskal reports she has learned about the legislative proves, developed several lasting professional relationships and developed administrative skills while serving on the board.
Dr. Kruskall states that leadership is important to advance the profession and she joined the board to not only serve as a role model for my students but also to take the lead as President to obtain licensure. Writing the Bill for licensure and seeing that process through has been the most rewarding experience she has had while serving on the board.
Dr. Kruskal stated “Nothing changes if nothing changes” and encouraged members to play a role by joining the board if you want to see our profession advance because It is such a rewarding experience.
Aurora Buffington PhD, RDN, LD, FAND is a NvAND member and dietitian who was recently recognized as a fellow by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (FAND) is a recognition certificate that identifies Academy members who have made significant and sustained contributions to the field of nutrition and dietetics, establishing them as role models. Aurora was nominated for this month’s spotlight because she is willing to take on leadership roles, is passionate about sharing information regarding community programs and because she is a role model, not only to interns she precepts for but for fellow dietitians as well. Aurora is described as being an initiator, educator, and mentor.
Dietetics is a second career for Aurora. Her first was serving for 10 years in the US Air Force. She states this was one of the most rewarding experiences of her life because she made many lifelong friendships, met her husband, and developed a love for pasta and wine.
Aurora Buffington is now a RD, public health professional, physical activity practitioner, mother, wife, auntie, and brand-new grandmother. Aurora was the very first UNLV dietetic intern and now he works at the University of Nevada Reno Extension in Clark County as an assistant professor specializing in public health nutrition.
Aurora has been a member of NvAND since 2004 and has held a wide variety of many different positions including media representative, public relations chair, president elect, president for 2 consecutive terms, past president, annual meeting chair, nomination committee, and state regulatory specialist.
Aurora loved being president despite it being a touch position that really stretched her. Her favorite position was working as past president and annual meeting chair because she was able to collaborate with Today’s Dietitian and merge their national meeting and Nevada’s state meeting to benefit both groups.
Aurora makes a difference by demonstrating that dietitians can work anywhere and everywhere. She tries to be inclusive to anyone showing an interest in healthier environments, especially in healthier food environments, in helping to develop healthier food goals. The difference she makes is mentoring people to aid them in reaching their personal goals and make connections.
Aurora feels she does not have a single greatest career accomplishment d/t her diverse background. Besides being a dietitian, she teaches fitness classes at a local rec center, active in church, loves cooking for her family, and participating in Member Interest Groups through the Academy. Aurora feels her biggest personal accomplishment is the connection and relationship she has with her family.
The ability to connect with other people is the most important skill Aura has developed over the years.
Aurora loves informal entertaining, cooking and hanging out with friends and family, and listening to music. Aurora loves to help people shine and move ahead, starting new projects, and being a pioneer by pushing the envelope trying new things even if she has to learn tough lessons because it broadens her horizon.
Question of the Month: What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?
Peanut Butter sandwich with American cheese, jelly optional
Samantha Farr, RD, CSO, LD works at Optum Care Cancer Center as an Outpatient Oncology Dietitian. Samantha currently serves as the Incoming Nominating Chair. This is a one year position that transitions to a year position as Nominating Committee Chair.
Samantha joined the Nevada Academy Board to give back to the organization that has helped her so much throughout her career. The Academy has been a stable base for Samantha throughout living in 4 different states in the past 7 years.
When asked what she has gained while serving on the board, Samantha replied “Being new to the Las Vegas area, the NVAND has helped me make more connections with fellow RDs and has helped me feel more involved in the community.”
This year has been very challenging for Samantha. She was working as an inpatient RD during the peak of COVID. Sierra, the current Nominating Committee Chair, was the driving force for completing tasks for our department within the board, and Samantha is grateful to have Sierra as a partner. Samantha has enjoyed the Zoom calls that she has been a part of and it has helped to get some socializing outside of her family and coworkers during these crazy times.
Samantha thinks anyone questioning being a board member should definitely give it a try. If it doesn't work out, you don't have to run for anything after, but she believes it is a good way to network as well as build on leadership skills. Also doesn't look bad on the resume.
Lauri Egan, RDN, CPT, is a key player in our state affiliate's organizational setup, structure and maintenance. She wears multiple hats and knows the inner workings of this organization, the Academy and how to run a successful board. She is an invaluable resource to incoming Presidents and any new board members, especially those who've never held a leadership position before. Lauri Egan is NvAND's rockstar, and we are so lucky to have her! Three words to describe Lauri are genuine, supportive, and reliable on top of being just a fun person.
Lauri joined NvAND while she was still an intern. She quickly became the Website Coordinator and is now the Administrator for the Nevada Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Lauri has a lot of fun meeting new board members each year and seeing the back end of how the organization functions. Lauri helps with the fluency of the transition from board members serving one year to new board members volunteering the next. She assists in tracking documents, orienting new board members, and making sure that the by-laws of NvAND and the Academy are being followed.
One reason Lauri likes being a dietitian is to bring new and changing education and information to NvAND members and the public. Lauri’s favorite part of dietetics is that dietitians are able to communicate with the public better based on improved science over the years.
Technology is the most important skill Lauri has developed in her role. Lauri stated that if we can make tasks quick, efficient, to the point, and less time consuming; getting information across will be easier and less frustrating. Technology also plays a big role in training new board members.
The people-interactions are always the most rewarding experience Lauri has each year. Lauri loves discovering what motivates people, whether that be clients or members of NvAND. She said it is fascinating to see different people, in the exact same atmosphere, create something completely different. She said it is refreshing to have people rearrange ideas and promote change.
Lauri would like members to know that she is always a resource and can help members locate or find information they are looking for.
In Lauri’s spare time she loves to explore with her family and find new adventures around her town.
What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?
Lauri cooked a turkey one time and since has opted not to do a traditional Thanksgiving meal but instead creates a cultural immersion experience each Thanksgiving with different cuisines.
Please take some time to get to know some of your NvAND board members as well as the position they serve. It is never too early to start considering which board position you want to apply for. We welcome all members to apply for board positions. If you are interested in serving on the NvAND board or have questions please contact the Nominating Committee at NomCom@EatRightNevada.org.
Roxana Ehsani MS, RD, CSSD, LDN
As a new Academy Spokesperson, Roxana Ehsani demonstrates she is not afraid to take risks. Having recently moved to Las Vegas she began reaching out to local media organizations in a new city. Additionally, she has started accepting patients in her own private nutrition practice. She continues to accept these challenges so that she can grow professionally and also to help promote dietitians in our community. Three worlds used to describe Roxana are entrepreneurial, professional, and dedicated.
Roxana serves as an Academy Spokesperson which was a major professional goal for herself and applied as soon as her conflict of interest serving as a supermarket spokesperson ended. She is the first spokesperson to represent Las Vegas. There are about 30 volunteer Academy Spokespersons that represent dietitians, academy members, and nutrition professionals in various forms of media such as print, radio, podcast, and TV. Their goal is to represent the Academy and dietitians as the expert nutrition professionals’ consumers should turn to, especially in a world full of misinformation from non-professionals. Roxana has experience in TV media and tends to gravitate towards those roles. Media experience is one of Roxana’s greatest skills she has developed.
Roxana would love for fellow members to reach out for a virtual meet-up, especially any members that have media connections to local print, news, or radio outlets so she can effectively serve her role as Academy Spokesperson. To reach Roxana, please email email@example.com.
Roxana comes from a culturally diverse background and spoke many different languages as she grew up, including German and Spanish. Her mother is from Austria and her father is from Iran. She feels she makes a difference as a dietitian as she can relate and connect with her patients with diverse backgrounds because of her own experience with various cultures and cuisines.
Roxana is new to Nevada who works full time in an outpatient setting and is also focused on building her own private practice. Roxana’s goal for early 2021 is to start working for herself full time. Roxana feels her greatest accomplishment is establishing her own business despite various challenges. Roxana had to learn many new skills from accepting and billing private insurance to building a professional website. Roxana states that “establishing my own business is the hardest thing that I have ever had to do, but I feel really happy I pushed myself through and now I am a business owner.”
Roxana’s advice to fellow RDs passionate about starting their own business is to “push through” because there will be many obstacles in the path. She has faced many challenges in starting her own business but never gave up. She reports she had to learn many things that were never taught in school or the internship when establishing her private practice. Despite these challenges she is glad she pushed forward and is now a business owner.
Roxana loves to cook and bake for hours at a time, run, and travel (though not this year, unfortunately).
Question of the month:
What is one food you cannot live without? Dark Chocolate