HHP Alumni Spotlight - Katie Del Rosario

HHP Alumni Spotlight – Katie Del Rosario

Katie Del Rosario

Class of: ‘13

Degree: Master of Science in Environmental Health

After earning a double B.A. in biology and environmental studies from UNC Chapel Hill, Katie Del Rosario served in the Peace Corps as a coastal resource manager in the Philippines. “My time in the Philippines gave me a new appreciation for how the physical environment, polluted air and lack of clean drinking water and solid waste disposal infrastructure can affect human health,” she said. After completing her Peace Corps service, Del Rosario enrolled in ECU’s master’s program in environmental health.

After earning her master’s, Del Rosario joined the Durham County Department of Public Health. Two years later, she joined the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s Office of Food Safety.

“As a food safety specialist, I provide food safety education, training and technical assistance to child nutrition professionals who run national school lunch and breakfast programs, among other initiatives. There’s still so much poverty and food insecurity in our country; the USDA Food and Nutrition Service works to ensure that all children have a chance to succeed by taking hunger out of the equation.

“Ensuring that the nation’s children have access to nutritious and safe food is an extremely rewarding job. If children don’t get food and proper nourishment, they won’t have the energy to make it through the school day and perform at their best. I go to work every day and use my skillset to improve the lives of children across the nation.

“My favorite role is serving as program manager for Produce Safety University. My team and I travel across the country to bring this free training to child nutrition professionals. We cover all aspects of the fresh produce supply chain, from growing and harvesting to storage and preparation,” she said.

“I’ve been with the USDA for over three years and continue to apply what I learned at ECU to my work on a daily basis. The environmental health program equipped me with the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to be successful in my field. I had so many opportunities to develop my knowledge as well as my research, writing and public presentation skills.”

Her advice to students considering a graduate program? “Find a topic you are passionate about and completely immerse yourself. Take advantage of the wealth of expertise of ECU faculty and say yes to every opportunity. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and take on things that seem over your head. You’ll have the support of HHP behind you.”

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