Board of Directors

2022-2023 SC Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics
Board of Directors 

(*) voting members are marked with an asterisk

Stephanie Nielsen is the dietetic internship director and instructor in the Department of Human Nutrition at Winthrop University. Previously, she was systems director of nutrition for Morrison Management Specialists/Compass Group, director of clinical nutrition at Carolinas Medical Center (now Atrium) in Charlotte, NC and worked at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Hospitals and Clinics in positions as Assistant Director and Coordinator Trauma and Parenteral Nutrition, as well as the University of Michigan Medical Center. She is an alumna of Michigan State University and completed her dietetic internship at St. Louis University Medical Center, St. Louis, MO. She is dedicated to professional service and advancing the practice of dietetics in all areas of the field. She has served as the Chair, Chair-elect, secretary, nominating chair, and area coordinator for the Clinical Nutrition Management Dietetics Practice Group, President, president-elect, secretary over various terms of the Charlotte Dietetic Association, President of the Catawba Dietetic Association, and former council on practice chair of the NCAND. 

Erin Seprish is an experienced food service manager and dietitian who has dedicated her career to the nutrition, education, and well-being of patients, students, and the community. She earned her B.S. in Human Nutrition at Winthrop University following her M.B.A. at Charleston Southern University. Erin completed her Dietetic Internship at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston, SC. She currently works as an Operations Manager in Nutrition Services for MUSC’s Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion ensuring quality nutrition and safety of patient and customer meals. Erin is also recognized as a Subject Matter Expert in Patient Services Management for Sodexo.  Erin serves as a Nutrition Consultant for private practice and projects including her recent project with the School Nutrition Association Magazine. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and has served as President of the Charleston Trident Dietetic Association. 

Secretary / Treasurer* 

Michelle Brown provides nutrition counseling at Roper St. Francis in Charleston, South Carolina in Bariatric Surgery and Medical Weight Loss. I try to help patients develop a better relationship with food and work away from the diet culture. I work with the interdisciplinary team to help determine the best individualized weight loss course for each patient. I also have the pleasure of educating post bariatric surgery patients in the hospital and help bariatric surgery patients get back on track, years after their surgery. I got my Bachelors of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from University of Pittsburgh and completed my dietetic internship at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System. Prior to becoming a Registered Dietitian, I worked in long term care for five years as a Dietetic Technician, Registered and was a Food Service Director for three years.

Molly Jones serves as the South Carolina Healthy Schools Program Manager for a national non-profit organization, The Alliance for a Healthier Generation. In this position, she has learned how to virtually collaborate and communicate with statewide community partners and geographically dispersed team members. Her previous experience as a Telehealth Dietitian with Sodexo at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) allowed her to master the art of virtual nutrition counseling and to literally meet patients where they are. Starting in 2012 as one of the first dietitians to pilot the Outpatient Telenutrition program at MUSC, Molly has seen a complete transformation of how telehealth is perceived by patients and providers, especially since the rapid adoption brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Molly is also a leader in the South Carolina dietetics community, currently serving as SCAND’s Public Policy Coordinator and previously serving as President. Due to her contributions and leadership, she was recognized as the Charleston-Trident 2018 Outstanding Dietitian of the Year and 2015 Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year
Past President / Special Programs Coordinator
Katie Lybrand
District President - Catawba Pee Dee*
Ashley Licata
District President - Charleston/ Trident*
Olivia Myers', RDN, LD, personal and professional experiences surrounding food and nutrition have taken many shapes, from years as a professional chef to counseling native populations in rural Alaska to leading the nutrition and food curriculum at a therapeutic wilderness program to working clinically with inpatient and outpatient populations in hospitals. Olivia’s current work is as the founder and director of GroceryRx, Lowcountry Street Grocery’s (LSG) produce prescription program. The focus of programming is on injecting food and prevention into the healthcare system, in efforts to move the dial on medical reimbursement for fresh, nutritious food. She sits on multiple local and state-level boards to promote equality and diversity in the dietetics profession, as well as expanding “food is medicine” strategies across the state. Olivia has served numerous roles on the board of the Charleston Trident Dietetic Association, and is currently serving as President. 

District President - Columbia/Midlands* 
Kristy DeChellis 
is an experienced clinical dietitian who has dedicated her nutrition career to providing patient-centered quality care. She earned her B.S. in Food and Nutrition Science at Florida State University and completed her Dietetic Internship at Emory University Hospitals in Atlanta, GA. After her internship, Kristy continued her time with Emory University Hospital specializing in medical and surgical GI patients. During her time there, she implemented ERAS protocols through collaborations with surgeons and physicians. She then transitioned to trauma surgery at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, GA and worked closely with interdisciplinary team to develop a step down ICU unit. Kristy currently works as a clinical dietitian at White Oak Manor in Newberry, SC ensuring quality nutrition to residents of various ages while considering their comorbidities, current limitations, and long term goals. Kristy has experience and passion for nutritional implications of surgery and nourishing the body for longevity. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and has served as Social Chair for the Greater Atlanta Dietetic Association.

District President - Piedmont*
Hannah Baer

Membership Chair/ New Member Liaison   
Brooke Brittain obtained a B.S. degree in Health Promotion from Coastal Carolina University, a M.S. degree in Food and Nutrition from Florida State University and a Culinary Certificate from the University of South Carolina.  Brooke has worked in community nutrition for about sixteen years.  She is a registered and licensed dietitian as well as a Certified Health Education Specialist and a Certified Lactation Counselor.  Brooke is currently the Program Manager for Public Health Nutrition & Outreach with Clemson University. Through this position she designs and oversees program planning, implementation and training related to nutrition/health in rural environments. She is a team leader for Clemson Rural Health and works with Land Grant Local on various food insecurity projects. Previously she was the Program Coordinator for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-Ed) at the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).  With this program she provided nutrition education to all ages in a variety of settings in twenty-one different counties in the state of South Carolina.  Brooke has been the Education Chair, President Elect, President and Nominating Chair for CMDA. She has served as a District Leader, Special Projects Co-Chair and the Scholarships and Awards Chair for SCAND.  Brooke won the award for Emerging Dietetic Leader in 2017 for SCAND and CMDA and received the Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year award for CMDA in 2014. She was the Vice President and the Nutrition Section Chair for the South Carolina Public Health Association (SCPHA). In 2018, she received the SCPHA President’s Award and then in 2020 received the SCPHA Voice of Public Health Award. Brooke has been a speaker at various conferences and universities and has also been featured in various media platforms over the years.  She held a monthly radio segment on 96.3 FM with Don Frierson and The Urban Scene for a year. Brooke was also featured in six cooking segments with SC celebrity Marcus Lattimore at First Choice Community Center. 

Nominating Chair
Amanda Davis
, MPH, RD, CHES is a Senior Evidence-Based Practice Analyst in the Value Institute at Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).  In her role, she supports an organization culture of evidence-based practice (EBP) through clinical staff education and development of clinical decision support tools. Amanda enjoys combining her clinical background as a dietitian and public health professional with her previous health behavior research experience to improve the translation of research into practice at MUSC. She mentors dietitians and dietetic interns at MUSC in EBP and research methods, with a focus on quality improvement and patient outcomes. She also has a passion for improving the shared decision-making process for patients, and is interested in pursuing new avenues to make health research approachable for the general public.

Nominating Chair-Elect                                 

Alexa Espinal 

Scholarship and Awards                            

Rachel Werkheiser, MS, RD, LD transitioned to the field of dietetics as a second career after working several years in the finance/accounting industry. She completed her undergraduate nutrition coursework at Tennessee Technological University, and then fulfilled her dietetic internship at East Tennessee State University, where she also earned a master’s in Clinical Nutrition. Rachel joined Sodexo in 2013, where her diverse roles have included work as a clinical dietitian in a community hospital setting, coverage of medical and surgical ICUs as well as a GI surgery floor at a regional health system hospital, and outpatient dietitian in an ambulatory oncology center. Rachel has served as Clinical Nutrition Manager in the community hospital setting and at a Level 1 trauma center and academic medical university. Her skills include project and program management with expertise in organization, communication, and change management. Rachel currently provides project support to the Sodexo Nutrition Leadership Team and is passionate about clinical nutrition and advancing the role of RDs to improve the quality of life of the populations they serve.

Public Policy Coordinator                               
Carmen Thompson graduated from Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She also attended South Carolina State University and earned a Master of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences. Carmen has worked as a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) for over 20 years. Her experiences in nutrition include public health, long-term care, and clinical nutrition.

Currently she is an assistant professor at South Carolina State University (SCSU) where she is the Director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics. Carmen teaches courses in nutrition and dietetics and nutritional biochemistry, advises and mentors students. She also serves as the advisor to the SCSU Nutrition Association and Kappa Omicron Nu National Honor Society for the Human Sciences.

She is a proud mother of two adults and one teenager and enjoys reading, crocheting, swimming, photography, and exercising. Carmen is a member the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the South Carolina Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the Midlands Dietetic Association. Her leadership opportunities include member of the Diversity in Dietetics Committee with the South Carolina Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Public Policy Coordinator.

State Policy Representative                           

Amy Downey works as Regional Clinical Nutrition Manager for Morrison Healthcare at Bon Secours St. Francis. She attended college at Concordia College in Moorhead Minnesota and Dietetic Internship at Iowa State University.  She loves camping and kayaking with her family and dabbles in paper crafting, candles and soap making. 


State Regulatory Specialist                             

Arianna Johnson

Consumer Protection Coordinator                 

Rowan Goodrich, MS, RD, LD has been a registered dietitian nutritionist for over 16 years. During this time, she has worked in a variety of settings.  She has worked in clinical nutrition and critical care and also served as the Executive Director for a large volume caterer for senior and child meal programs.  Currently she works as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for the South Carolina Department on Aging.  Her responsibilities include overseeing the Older Americans Act federally mandated senior nutrition programs and Evidenced-Based Health Promotion and Disease Prevention programs.  Her aim is to ensure older South Carolinians have access to nutrition and wellness services to promote healthy aging in place.  She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.  She has served on the policy committee for the Columbia Midlands Dietetic Association for the past 3 years.   She is also a member of the City of Columbia Food Policy Committee, the SC Nutrition Action Coalition, and Healthy Palmetto. 

Public Policy Partners Coordinator               

Savannah Weeks serves as the Public Policy Partners Coordinator. She completed her dietetics coursework at the University of Houston and her dietetic internship at the Medical University of South Carolina. Currently, Savannah works for Clemson Extension as the 4-H Youth Development Agent in Charleston County. She is passionate about providing youth opportunities to engage in their communities, develop healthy habits, and experience the natural world. As the Public Policy Partners Coordinator, Savannah is excited to be a part of the Policy team and is looking forward to advocating for the dietetics profession and patients. 


Nutrition Services Payment Specialist           

Jeremy Ponds, MS, RD, LD is the owner of Path of Life Nutrition, a nutrition practice with locations in Lexington & Newberry that provides functional nutrition counseling, diabetes education and health coaching for individuals of all ages. Jeremy is a licensed dietitian nutritionist with extensive undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate training in clinical, integrative, and functional nutrition. He uses a holistic approach to coach clients and families towards better health through nutrition and lifestyle interventions. 

Jeremy brings his own experience of personal health struggles with chronic fatigue, “mystery illness” and digestive disorders to every client he serves, offering a unique perspective of savvy, compassion and empathy for clients struggling to find answers and recover good health. 

Marketing/Social Media Coordinator             

Mickela Mitchell, a registered dietitian and board-certified specialist in sports dietetics, is a senior manager of youth wellness for The Dairy Alliance. In this role, she leads a team working side-by-side with school personnel to improve school wellness environments in the Carolinas and Virginia. Additionally, she manages the organizations' partnership with the Carolina Panthers.  

In her 19 years as an RD, Mickela has served as a nutrition educator and child nutrition program director, a nutrition consultant and a fitness professional with a keen interest in sports nutrition for children.


Marketing/Social Media Coordinator-Elect   

Lauren Zimmerman is a registered dietitian and has been practicing for nine years. She received her Master's in Nutrition from Winthrop University where she also completed her Dietetic Internship. She has experience working in the hospital setting, cardiac rehab, bariatric surgery, weight management, and now works with clients on both the preventative and disease management side. She has been the Lead Dietitian at Synchronicity, a modern wellness center for physical and mental wellbeing, for the past three years. She specializes in plant-based nutrition, gut health, and helping individuals create a sustainable and enjoyable lifelong nutrition plan. She created and leads the 21-Day Gut Reset program, a nutrition based, educational, and accountability group program. She co-created a 3-month nutrition accountability program and manages the individual nutrition sessions. She creates and leads monthly cooking classes to foster community, assist in habit change, and educate. She serves as the Secretary on the Board of Directors for a Charleston non-profit, AMOR Healing Kitchen where she assists in fundraising cooking classes and contributes nutrition related content for a monthly newsletter. She also serves as the Marketing/Social Media Chair Elect for the South Carolina Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and served as the past Secretary for the Charleston Trident Dietetic Association. Weekly she creates nutrition content and recipe development for social media @laurenz_rd and @thesynclife on Instagram.  

Newsletter Editor                                             

Olivia Trapp 

Continuing Education/ Webinar Chair          

Jessie Hoffman, PhD, RD is a new Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Nutrition at Winthrop University.  She holds a Masters in Nutrition from UNC-Greensboro and a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Kentucky.  After completing her PhD she completed her dietetic internship through Iowa State University. Her dietetic and research expertise are in gastrointestinal conditions and the gut microbiome.   

Currently, her research focuses on the impact of psychological stress and dietary factors (i.e. dietary fiber) on gastrointestinal health and the gut microbiome.  Additionally, Jessie is passionate about scientific and nutritional science communication, and does so regularly through social media.  From breaking down nutrition science to busting myths that are so prevalent in today's society, she strives to empower individuals to become responsible consumers of social media content and experts on their own bodies.

IDEA Liaison                                                 

Suzi Baxter is an (unpaid) Affiliate Research Professor at the University of South Carolina, College of Social Work.  As Principal Investigator on research grants funded mainly by the National Institutes of Health, her primary research has concerned the accuracy of dietary recalls provided by children.  She has authored 90 peer-reviewed articles, 5 chapters, 179 poster or podium presentations, and 84 invited presentations.  She resigned her Research Professor position late in 2016 due to a disability acquired in 2010.  As an Academy member, her service includes or has included the South Carolina affiliate (as President-Elect, President, Past-President, Foundation Liaison, and current Diversity Liaison), Research DPG (as Treasurer, Diversity Liaison, and current Mentor), Academy (current Board of Editors for the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and 2017–2019 Diversity Leaders Program), and Foundation (current Philanthropy Council, Scholarship Committee and Chair, and Task Force Chair to create the Amy Joye Memorial Research Award).  Her honors include the 2012 South Carolina Outstanding Dietitian of the Year, 2016 Research DPG First Author Publication Award, and 2017 Monsen Award for Outstanding Research Literature.  She completed the Coordinated Undergraduate Program at Texas Christian University.  She has worked with children with cerebral palsy, with adults as an outpatient dietitian, for school foodservice, and for the WIC program.  She earned her MS and PhD degrees at Texas Woman's University in Denton.  She completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Nutrition at the Medical College of Georgia where she then worked for 10 years before moving to the University of South Carolina where she worked for 13 years. 

Annual Meeting Chair                                    

Sara Hendrix, MS, RDN, LD, CNSC is a registered dietitian with the Cystic Fibrosis Center at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. She provides care for adults and pediatric patients in the inpatient and outpatient settings. Additionally, Sara is a commercial speaker for Alcresta, the makers of Relizorb, a newly approved enzyme cartridge, available to her patients to help them improve absorption of their tube feedings in an effort to optimize their nutrition status.

Sara graduated from the University of Arizona with her Bachelor’s in Dietetics and completed her Master’s in Nutrition and dietetic internship at the University of Georgia. She has worked in CF for 5 years and as a dietitian for over 12 years.

Sara finds great value as an active board member in her local dietetic association. She has served multiple positions at both the district and state level. She was recognized as Outstanding Dietitian of the Year by the SCAND in 2017.

Sara is also active with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF). Last year she was selected as one of Charleston’s Finest by the South Carolina CFF and raised over $8,000 for the organization. She now serves as a Charleston’s Finest committee member and mentor. 

Annual Meeting Chair-Elect 

Annual Meeting Past Chair                             

Jalak Patel, MS, RDN, LDN is a Registered Dietitian with 15 years’ experience in clinical and public health nutrition. As an outpatient dietitian for Bon Secours Mercy Health, Jalak works with cardiopulmonary and weight management clients. She is currently serving as a board member of the South Carolina Dietetics Association, as Annual Meeting Chair, and has served as Treasurer and Education Chair for the Piedmont Dietetics Association. Jalak has a diverse background in the food and nutrition industry having worked in various roles including acute care, program development, education and public health.  Her career interests include: Cardiometabolic Health and Functional Nutrition and she is presently preparing for her CDCES. 

Jalak received her Masters of Science from State University of New York at Stony Brook, and completed her Dietetic Internship at the UC San Diego Health System. She is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Diabetes, DIFM, and Behavioral Health Professionals dietetic practice group.

Academy Foundation Liaison                       

Katherine Watts

Abstracts Chair                                               

Susan Steck  

Sponsorship Chair                                         

Kimberely McClain obtained her BS degree in Nutrition and Food Management from South Carolina State University in 1999.  She also attended Florida State University and earned a MS degree in Nutrition and Food Science with an emphasis in Nutrition Education and Health Promotion in 2001.  Kimberely has been working as a registered and licensed dietitian since 2004.  She has worked in various settings ranging from clinical settings of hospital (2004 – 2007), nursing home and/or retirement communities (2013-present), diabetes outpatient clinics (2004-2007), foodservice settings (2004 -present), and higher education/research (2007-2013 and 2018-present). Currently she is an Assistant Professor at South Carolina State University in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, teaching courses for the Nutrition and Food Management Program and assisting current Director with accreditation maintenance.  She is also owner and operator of Dynamic Nutrition Solutions, LLC since 2009 providing a variety of consultant services.   Throughout her years as a dietitian, Kimberely has conducted numerous seminars/presentations ranging from Meal Planning and Diabetes, Carbohydrate Counting, Hypertension and Meal Planning, Combating Childhood Obesity, and a variety of other Nutrition related topics.  She has also served as a mentor and preceptor for dietetic interns and dietitians. Kimberely has held the position as Sponsorship Chair on the Board for South Carolina Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for the past two years and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), South Carolina Midlands Dietetics Association, the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS), South Carolina American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, and National Organization of Blacks in Dietetics and Nutrition (NOBIDAN) MIG.  Kimberely is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition (DCN) from the University of North Florida.

Diet Manual Editor                                        
Emily Barrett