Member Spotlight - Elizabeth Verzo
Elizabeth Verzo, MS, RDN, LDN, FAND
WIC Program Manager
Tell us about your job.
Currently I manage a WIC clinic within Chicago Family Health Center in South Chicago. I counsel WIC clients and provide administrative oversight for a caseload of 2,500 clients per month.
What do you find most interesting about your job?
I enjoy that my job is a mix of different tasks. Some days I'm the problem solver, other days I'm collaborating with my Nutritionist about a health fair for the clinic. I enjoy the counseling aspect the most, especially helping clients with goal setting for themselves and/or their children.
How did you get into this field?
I've been practicing community nutrition for the majority of my career as a dietitian. My first "adult" job after the internship was at a residential facility for homeless youth in Chicago -- Teen Living Programs. That opened my eyes to young people being forced to choose between shelter and where their next meal was coming from. From there, I moved to my first WIC job -- Near North Health Service Corporation, where I managed a WIC site in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood. I worked in academia for almost six years, for the University of Illinois Extension, but ultimately returned to WIC.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Maywood, IL and grew up in Wheaton, IL and later moved to Oak Park, IL. I've been in Illinois for my whole life except for college.
Where did you go to college and/or complete an internship?
I received a bachelor's degree in culinary nutrition from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI. At the time, I wanted to work as a chef. Half of my classes were culinary labs and half were academics. In my junior year, my classes were predominantly nutrition focused, and my professors were RDs and Chef RDs. That opened my eyes to other career possibilities. After college, I returned to Illinois and completed my dietetic internship and master's degree from Loyola University Chicago.
Besides your profession, what are you hobbies?
I enjoy watercolor painting, writing poetry, going to plays, and traveling.
What are your favorite foods?
I am open to most foods and particularly like Thai, Japanese, and Greek.
What is on your bucket list?
Traveling, particularly to landmarks, like the Taj Mahal. I've traveled to Europe but would like to travel to parts of Asia, especially Japan. I've recently discovered traveling by train and would like to experience different transit options in other countries.
How long have you been a member of NEP DPG? And why did you join?
I've been a member of NEP for about four years now. I joined when I began serving as Communications Chair. Through my involvement with NEP, I've been able to earn CEUs from the newsletters and webinars, and connect with other dietitians in various aspects of practice.
Any other interesting things you would like to share with NEP members?
I'll be celebrating 10 years as a dietitian this October 2019. When I first became a dietitian, I didn't think I would have this amount of opportunities to practice in different settings. I didn't want to limit myself and I think that's the beauty of this profession. Whether it's through work or leadership opportunities through the Academy, I've been able to take every advantage of learning from others, networking, and collaborating. I'm excited for what's to come for the future of dietetics.