Member Spotlight


Read more about our current featured member below. For previous Member Spotlight editions, head over to the archive.


Karen Bakies, RDN, LD, FAND

Vice President Nutrition Affairs, American Dairy Association Mideast



Tell us about your job.

I work on behalf of dairy farm families in Ohio and West Virginia. We are a state/regional organization of National Dairy Council. In my role, I oversee statewide partnerships and serve as a resource for health professionals, consumer leaders, the media and dairy community. As a RD with ADA Mideast, I provide food, nutrition, and sustainability knowledge, as well as dairy research, to a variety of audiences from academia and schools to state-wide associations and coalitions.


What do you find most interesting about your job?

Every day is different! From convening and connecting professionals and partners, learning, and sharing new research, communicating science to the public, to supporting our k-12 school’s team on projects and events. I really enjoy telling the farm to table/food/nutrition story on behalf of dairy farm families. As we have become generationally removed from agriculture and where food comes from, we take both future and current nutrition professionals on farm tours and give them the opportunity to interact and see a farm, often for the first time (and of course taking a selfie with a cow).


How did you get into this field?

I started as an education major in college and quickly changed my major to Nutrition & Dietetics after my first nutrition class. My dad’s side of the family are farmers and my dad worked in agriculture, we always had large gardens, canned, and made everything from scratch – growing up in a large family gathering around the dinner table was an important part of the day.


Where were you born and raised?

In Perrysburg, Ohio (Northwest corner of the state), I live two houses from where I grew up!


Where did you go to college and/or complete an internship?

I have a degree in dietetics from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and completed my dietetic internship in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Besides your profession, what are your hobbies?

I like to garden, run, read, hike and travel.


What are your favorite foods?

I like almost everything, trying new recipes, cultural/ethnic foods and ending a meal with a little chocolate!


What is on your bucket list?

2020 we put our travel plans on hold, looking forward to when its’ safe to reschedule. 2021 – run a ½ marathon by my birthday.


How long have you been a member of NEP DPG? And why did you join?

Nutrition Education for the Public was the very first DPG I joined because it paired my two passions together -nutrition & education. After being a member for several years, I was introduced to a leadership role in NEP by a fellow Dairy Council RDN staff member in another state, who asked me if I would be interested in being on the nominating committee. Saying YES, led to more leadership roles and being a NEP member for more than 30 years.


Any other interesting things you would like to share with NEP members?

We are a DPG that is passionate, dedicated, hard-working and a fun group. Invite others to join NEP and if you are asked to get more involved, say YES!