The East Brunswick native enrolled at Middlesex College looking to do something in the health field. After a couple of attempts (first studying to be a nurse, then joining the physical therapy program) she discovered the dietetic technology field.
“It’s basically nutrition,” laughed Keresztes, who graduated from Middlesex College in 2014.
“But when I left the program, it set me up for what I want to do. I got an externship through the program and it set me up to get my credentials after I left.”
Keresztes, now 37, calls Middlesex College the birthplace of her passion. She still stays in touch with her former teachers and comes back to campus often.
“It’s what started my journey,” she said. “I never thought I was smart enough to start at a four-year college, so Middlesex built my confidence in a way that it allowed me to transfer to Rutgers. It was the foundation that I needed, the boost to say that I got this.”
Almost immediately after graduating from Middlesex College she got a position at Rutgers in the Behavioral Health Care Center in the food services department. She spent five years there, and in 2019, went back to Rutgers to complete her nutrition degree. She got her bachelor’s in nutritional science and then her master’s in October 2022.
Now, she teaches culinary nutrition at Rutgers and is the food lab coordinator at Rutgers’ nutritional sciences department. She never saw herself as an instructor until she tried it.
“It was never part of the plan,” Keresztes said. “I always thought I would be in a hospital and help patients. But when I did my rotation, I realized that being in a clinical setting wasn’t for me and I realized what I loved the most was teaching.”
To that end, she advises food lovers that it’s safe to indulge every now and then, but make sure you eat your fruits and veggies too.
“It’s Ok to have a bad meal,” Keresztes said. “It’s Ok to have McDonald’s, as long as it’s in moderation.”
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