University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


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Nutritionist in Biology Department Named
Woman of the Year By Mental Health Association

 MAILED:  May 23, 2003

EAU CLAIRE - For the past 11 summers Susan Krueger, a senior lecturer in the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire biology department, has packed up her family and traveled to the Appalachians in West Virginia to work as volunteers. This summer is no exception.

Working with the Passionist Volunteers, headquartered in New Jersey, they spend three or four weeks doing children's programs, delivering summer lunches to poor children, and doing home repairs such as roofing, painting, flooring and sheet rocking. The houses have dirt floors, no running water and no sewers.

"We work in the most impoverished areas where malnutrition is common, as is illiteracy and extreme poverty," said Krueger, a nutritionist whose major professional interests, outside of teaching, are hunger and poverty in the United States. "The volunteers stay at a grade school and sleep on the floors - on foam!"

Later in the summer, Krueger will fly to New York City to work with the Passionist Volunteers in Brooklyn's poverty-ridden Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.

"We do kids programs there and work with elderly individuals," Krueger said. "The neighborhood has the highest homicide and infant mortality rates among the five boroughs of New York City."

For her efforts to improve the lives of others, Krueger received the Mental Health Association's Woman of the Year Award May 22. The annual award is given to a woman from the Eau Claire area for improving the lives of others through her profession or community service, said Audrey Henning, executive director of the Mental Health Association in Eau Claire County. A former student and member of the Mental Health board, Katie Sarver, nominated Krueger for the award.

"I truly am touched by the award and humbled, but I feel there are so many women out there they could have given it to," Krueger said. "I think giving is as normal as eating or taking a shower, and we all give to this world in our own ways."

Krueger brings her firsthand experiences with hunger and poverty to the courses she teaches on human nutrition and physiological nutrition. Her students describe her as an excellent teacher, caring and compassionate.

"I have never had a teacher that could share his/her knowledge and experiences in such a way as she does. You can tell that she is passionate about the subject matter of the class and about what is happening in the world," one former student said.

"Her stories about her volunteer work are truly inspiring. It's amazing all that this woman does," said another former student.

Biology department chair Michael Weil said Krueger also won the Vic and Eileen Cvancara Teaching Award this year. The award is given annually to recognize the outstanding teacher in the biology department.

"Sue is an excellent teacher and a warm, compassionate person," Weil said. "She gets wonderful student evaluations, which consistently attest to her outstanding teaching abilities and caring nature."

Krueger joined the biology department at UW-Eau Claire in 1977. She is a registered dietitian, a member of the American Dietetic Association and part of the national dietetic group on hunger and malnutrition. She holds a bachelor's degree in Dietetics Human Nutrition and master's degree from UW-Stout.

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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
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Updated: May 23, 2003