Henna Muzaffar

Assistant Professor, Nutrition and Dietetics, College of Health and Human Sciences

Henna Muzaffar

What year did you start working at NIU?
August 2018

Where is your hometown? and where do you live now?
Oak Brook, Illinois.

Where did you attend college and what degree(s) have you earned?
Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
B.S. and M.S., University of Cincinnati

In which department(s) do you teach?
Nutrition and Dietetics, College of Health and Human Sciences

What do you like about working at NIU?
I really like my colleagues, who have been so helpful and supportive throughout my time here at NIU. I also like to interact with the first-generation college students and assist them in achieving their career goals.

What advice would you give to students currently attending NIU?
I will tell my students to follow their dreams and aspirations, and never be discouraged by any roadblocks/challenges in their career path. By persevering and working hard, they will be able to overcome the challenges and meet their goals, even if the path becomes convoluted for them. I give my teenage children the same advice.

Tell us about a research or engaged learning project you have led.
Currently, I am involved with the expansion, delivery and evaluation of the CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) Program in northern Illinois schools. In fall 2021, I will be pilot-testing cooking and gardening sessions with elementary school children. I procured a new piece of equipment, a Resonance Raman Spectroscope (Veggie Meter), for my lab this semester. In the fall semester, I am excited to train NIU students how to use the device with children in schools. I am sure the school-aged children will be intrigued by the equipment and their score, which hopefully will motivate them to eat more fruits and vegetables. 

What do you hope students take away from your class?
I hope for my students to learn the core subject concepts taught in the course and also become empathetic and competent professionals, who exhibit integrity and strong work ethic in their professional life. 

What is your favorite campus event?
My favorite campus event is the National Eating Disorder Awareness Week panel discussion event, which takes place every year in February. I have had the opportunity to lead the event in 2020 and 2021. 

What is your favorite memory of NIU?
I have not been with NIU for long enough to have a favorite memory. However, I do really like to attend the college meetings at the start of the semester, as those get me excited about the projects, research and courses for that semester. 

Who has influenced your professional path?
My father, who is a physician, has influenced my career path. Growing up, I was inspired by all the stories he shared with me about improving the lives and health of other people. 

What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you currently doing it? If not, what changed your path?
I wanted to be a health care provider and assist people in improving their health or maintaining good health. I am currently able to educate children in schools about healthy lifestyle behaviors. By doing so, I am helping the children adopt healthy behaviors, which sets the stage for good lifestyle choices for the rest of their lives. 

Are you a member of or hold a position within a professional organization? If so, what organization? What is the purpose of that organization and how does being part of this organization benefit you in your role at NIU?
I am the chair of the Nutrition Education Practice Dietetic Practice Group (NEP DPG) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. I am also an awards committee member of the Nutrition Education and Behavior Science Research Interest Section of the American Society for Nutrition.

What community organizations are you involved in?
I am involved with the Northern Illinois Food Bank and the Elmhurst-Yorkfield Food Pantry.

What do you do to relax or recharge?
Walking/hiking with my husband, spending time with my children or getting together with friends.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your NIU Huskie story?
In addition to my academic responsibilities, I hope to serve in leadership positions at the school, college and university levels.

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