Lt. Katrina Butner Piercy, from Gaithersburg, Maryland, received the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award during the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ alumni awards ceremony.

Piercy earned her Ph.D. in human nutrition, foods, and exercise in 2010 and currently serves as the physical activity and nutrition advisor to the Department of Health and Human Services in the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in Rockville, Maryland. She is part of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

She was a subcommittee lead for the development and promotion of the most recent edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and designs My Plate guidelines, two online resources used by presumably millions of Americans seeking information about leading healthy lifestyles. Piercy stands out in her field because she has cross-training in nutrition and physical activity.

Piercy serves as a mentor and preceptor to students participating in the visiting scholar program at the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. She led, at the request of the acting surgeon general, the annual Physical Fitness Test Project for the almost 7,000 members of the Public Health Service.

“Lt. Piercy is a great example of how the graduates of the college have positive impacts in their fields,” said Alan Grant, dean of the college. “Her work in establishing policy in her capacity with the Department of Health and Human Services is extremely important in combating important societal challenges like the obesity epidemic.”

Piercy has already had an immense impact in the field nationally and contributed substantial service to professional societies where she holds membership, including the District of Columbia Metro Dietetic Association.

“We have a world-class program at Virginia Tech and our graduates are equipped to take on the difficult challenges of policy and industry,” said Matt Hulver, department head and associate professor of human nutrition, foods, and exercise. “Her professional accomplishments are a testament to her hard work and the outstanding training students have here.”