Published on March 19, 2019 by Sarah Waller  
CHS Nutrition

Faculty, students and alumni in Samford University’s Department of Nutrition and Dietetics received numerous honors at the 2019 Alabama Dietetic Association awards luncheon earlier this month. Among these awards, two faculty members received the highest honors. 

The organization named Donna Seibels, assistant professor and director of the department’s didactic program in dietetics, the 2019 Outstanding Didactic Program in Dietetics Educator of the Year. It also announced Mim Gaines, professor and director of the department’s dietetic internship program, as the 2019 Outstanding Intern Educator of the Year. 

These honors are given to faculty who, in recent years, have become highly decorated with awards that honor their leadership and impact on the nutrition and dietetics field. Last year, both Seibels and Gaines were inducted as fellows into the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. And more recently, Gaines received the 2019 Ira L. Meyers Award from the Alabama Public Health Association, and Seibels was given the Nutrition and Dietetic Educators and Preceptors South Central Region’s Outstanding Dietetic Educator award. 

But even as this list of awards continues to grow, both Seibels and Gaines say their greatest reward is the relationships they form with their students. “My greatest joy at Samford has been getting to know students, who they are and what they want to achieve—and in that, helping train students to become registered dietitians,” Seibels said. 

Along with honoring Seibels and Gaines, the Alabama Dietetic Association also honored several Samford students and recent alumni with notable awards and scholarships. 

  • Hope Etheridge was named the Outstanding Didactic Student of the Year. She also received the Wood Fruitticher Grocery Company Scholarship. 
  • Amanda Klimowski ’18 was named the Outstanding Dietetic Intern of the Year. 
  • Josephine Hartley ’18 received the William E. Smith Scholarship. She is currently enrolled in Samford’s dietetic internship program. 
  • Sydney Smith was named the Outstanding Senior at Samford University.

“These recognitions are a testimony of the dedicated faculty and students within our department,” said Suresh Mathews, professor and chair of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics in the School of Public Health. “I am immensely proud of what they have accomplished, and for our students, I can’t wait to see the bright futures they have in store.” 

In addition to the awards given at the luncheon, Linda Godfrey, an adjunct professor within the department, was recognized for 50 years of membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and with the Alabama Dietetic Association. 

The School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition and Dietetics has a long history of preparing graduates with the knowledge and skills to impact the nutritional health of individuals and communities—100 years to be exact. The department offers three degrees—B.S. in nutrition and dietetics, B.S. in foods and nutrition and M.S. in nutrition—and its dietetic internship program.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.