Aug. 19, 2021

Inspiring Teacher: Sherri Nordstrom Stastny, professor of health, nutrition and exercise sciences

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Inspiring teacher Sherri Nordstrom Stastny oversees NDSU's 800 Cafe and teaches Nutrition for Human Performance for graduate students.

Sherri Nordstrom Stastny brings zest to her classroom.

During spring semester, the professor of health, nutrition and exercise sciences oversees NDSU’s 800 Café, a restaurant managed and operated by Stastny’s dietetics students. She also teaches Nutrition for Human Performance for graduate students.

“I get excited each spring when we are getting ready to open our student-led restaurant,” Stastny said. “It is not rocket science, but is definitely a steep learning curve for both the students and me as we grow together as a team to serve excellent meals that exceed the expectations of our sometimes demanding customers.”

Stastny has remarkable teaching skills, and has been honored as the Outstanding Educator in a Dietetics Program by both the North Dakota Dietetic Association and the regional dietetics organization. In addition, she has been recognized by the NDSU College of Human Development and Education numerous times as a person on campus who has made a difference to students.

“Each student brings different skills to the table,” she said. “We all start at the beginning at some point, but can contribute skills that we have perhaps gained in another completely separate endeavor.”

In her restaurant class, for example, students learn by doing and everyone is expected to lead the class at some point.

“Without any foodservice or culinary experience, this can be daunting, but leadership skills learned and practiced elsewhere such as in athletics, student government or as part of a summer-time job, can all help build confidence to lead a successful restaurant,” said Stastny, who uses a variety of learning techniques that range from games for team building, activities and different settings.

She is often recognized for her ability to connect with her students and serve as a caring mentor. For her, the bottom line is that the classroom is a combined effort – Everyone plays a role.

“With teachers and learners, the world can find solutions to both simple and complicated problems, and make a difference towards improving quality of life for all,” Stastny said. “We learn from each other.”

Stastny joined the NDSU faculty in 2002. She is a Registered Dietitian, Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics and Licensed Bone Densitometry Technician.

She earned her bachelor’s degree, Master of Business Administration and doctorate in human development and education from NDSU.

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