Jennifer Schafer Zabinsky of Blacksburg, Virginia, a 2009 graduate of human nutrition, foods, and exercise was named the Outstanding Recent Undergraduate Alumna of Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences on April 20, 2018 at the annual college alumni awards ceremony.
Zabinsky is the associate athletics director of sports nutrition at Virginia Tech. Her work on behalf of all student athletes has far-reaching implications – from helping current students balance academics and athletics to assisting alumni as they transition from rigorous athletics and must learn how to navigate food choices without the intense activity level.
Her Student Sports Nutrition initiative provides paid and volunteer work experiences for undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise. As a result, hundreds of HNFE students have used these experiences to help them secure jobs, internships, and graduate school acceptances.
As the associate athletics director of sports nutrition, Zabinsky knows it is challenging for new professionals to enter the field of sports dietetics. She has developed a creative staffing model that allows a broad number of professionals to gain experience and mentoring through graduate assistantships and a partnership with Gatorade.
She has held multiple roles within the HNFE department, including guest lecturing, serving on graduate student and search committees, and helping develop curriculum.