From GW to Dr. Oz: One alumna’s journey

Kristin Kirkpatrick, CCAS BA ’98, was recently named one of 35 health experts to follow by the Huffington Post. A national presenter and regular contributor to the Dr. Oz show, Kirkpatrick graduated from GW in 1998, and began her career in the DC area. Now a Registered Dietitian in the state of Ohio, Kirkpatrick says that attending GW changed her life.

Kirkpatrick came to GW from a small town outside of Cleveland, OH. “GW introduced me to the world,” she says, and gave her a one-of-a-kind college experience. “Where else will your freshman dorm be next to an embassy, or can you have the opportunity to work for the White House?”

Before finding her path in the world of health and wellness, Kirkpatrick did just that—as a White House intern, she served on a presidential campaign. She says this experience, combined with events and lectures at GW, not only strengthened her as a student, but also as an individual.

Both attending GW and living in DC allowed Kirkpatrick to break out of her comfort zone when forming long-term goals and plans. Specifically, her minor in communications provided writing skills and practice in public speaking. Today, these skillsets are huge component of Kirkpatrick’s career, as she regularly writes for and contributes to television shows, magazines and media/web outlets. “GW helped me realize that path and the confidence to do it,” she says.

After graduation, Kirkpatrick began her career by lobbying for medical nutrition therapy reform with the American Dietetic Association’s Policy and Advocacy group. Next, she went on to become the regional coordinator of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Hearts N’ Parks program in Montgomery County, MD.  Kirkpatrick eventually returned to Ohio and joined the Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Cardiovascular Genetics, where she also enrolled in the University of Akron’s coordinated program in dietetics.

Kirkpatrick is currently manager of Wellness Nutrition Services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, in Cleveland, OH, and is regularly quoted in publications such as Whole Living, Fitness, Women’s Health, Women’s Day and Self, as well as international media outlets. She is also a Huffington Post contributor.

Kirkpatrick’s success was built upon her experiences in college. GW not only influenced her life, but helped shape it—“it made me who I am,” she says. Kirkpatrick credits her professors—in particular, Dr. Roy Berko—who encouraged her to excel in every opportunity and whose passion was contagious. Her advice to current students? “Do everything, see everything and experience everything that the city and the school have to offer.”

In addition to her education, Kirkpatrick has also made lifelong friends through GW, and she continues to connect with fellow Colonials for professional development opportunities and career advice. She’s also found several GW families in Cleveland, and would love for her own children to one day attend GW.

Kirkpatrick sums up GW as the best experience of her life. “Every time on I’m on campus,” she says, “I smile, and can’t believe that I was lucky enough to walk that campus for four years.”

Take the Huffington Post’s advice and follow Kristin on Twitter!

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