“I really enjoy the instructor role because I work with students from all over the United States; those students are also furthering their education by training to become Certified Dietary Managers,” explained Zellmann.
Growing up near Dent, Minnesota, with grandparents who farmed, Zellmann took an early interest in a healthy lifestyle. The fact her grandfather lived with type 1 diabetes also motivated her to pursue this career.
“My grandmother was a homemaker. She inspired me with her healthy, homemade meals. Growing up, my family had a large garden and I was involved in 4-H. I learned first-hand how important good nutrition is,” said Zellmann. “In high school, I didn’t have the best eating habits and witnessed friends who were affected by eating disorders. I wanted to learn more about how nutrition can help one stay healthy, and help treat and/or prevent chronic disease.”
She earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Nutrition & Dietetics from UND in 1999. Both her brother and father attended the University, so for her, it was an easy choice.
Zellmann married her high school sweetheart and is a mother of three boys, ages 5, 9, and 11. They currently reside in Bemidji, Minnesota. Always on the go, she admits balancing her roles is her biggest challenge. When she’s not taking classes, teaching students and managing a household, Zellmann is busy with her kids and their activities, including baseball, basketball, football and soccer. As a family, they enjoy camping and the outdoors.
Going back to college
While exploring Master’s degrees, Zellmann came across UND’s online program. She knew it was a great school for nutrition and the online program was just getting started, so she took advantage of the opportunity.
An advocate for online classes, Zellmann personally finds a sense of accomplishment and gratification while completing her degree. Professionally, it adds to her credibility as a registered dietitian, as well as other career ventures. She also enjoys networking with students from different areas of nutrition.
“We are all learning from each other and our areas of expertise,” she said.
To prospective students looking to further their education, Zellmann offers her encouragement.
“It’s definitely a unique learning environment, one that took a little adjusting to,” said Zellmann.
She admits that after 17 years, the idea of going back to college was intimidating, but the flexibility and convenience of online were a great opportunity.
As for the future, Zellmann hopes her new degree will open more doors to teaching, either in the classroom or online.
“I know it will also help enhance my clinical and counseling skills, which will continue to benefit my private practice,” she said.
So what can this program offer students?
According to Zellmann, “Flexibility, enhanced clinical and nutrition counseling skills, as well as refined research skills.
About the degree
The online Master’s in Nutrition is 32 credits with semester-based courses. The program requires a weeklong campus visit during the summer of the second year in the program. The visit is to help prepare students for the practicum. Students pursuing this degree pay in-state tuition, regardless of residency. For more information, visit UND.edu/online/degrees/nutrition.