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Program Faculty

Dietetic Internship Director

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Hannah Thornton, MS, RD, LD
(Director since June 2016)

Ms. Thornton is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Nutrition and Foods Program of the School of Family and Consumer Sciences. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in Biology at Smith College in Northampton, MA, a Master of Science in Biology at Florida International University in Miami, FL, and a Master of Science in Nutrition as well as the Dietetic Internship at Texas State. Her research has included an exploration of nutrient intakes in WIC-enrolled children and food security on college campuses. Her teaching includes introductory nutrition courses, Nutrition Assessment, Biochemical Nutrition, and Nutrition and Genetics. In the classroom, she emphasizes multiculturalism and active learning. In 2016, she received a Presidential Distinction Award for Excellence in Teaching, and was named runner up for Texas State’s Award for Excellence in Online Teaching. In addition to her work at Texas State, she maintains a private dietetics practice specializing in pregnancy and pediatric nutrition.


Dietetic Internship Faculty

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BJ Friedman, PhD, RD
(Director Emerita, internship faculty since 1997)
Dr. Friedman is a Professor Emerita in the Nutrition and Foods Program of the School of Family and Consumer Sciences. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University and master’s and PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. She completed her supervised practice at Elkhart General Hospital in Elkhart, Indiana. She served as Chair of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences from 1992-2006, and traveled to Budapest, Hungary as a Fulbright Scholar in the spring of 2007. Dr. Friedman’s research agenda has focused on child nutrition, especially related to prevention of childhood obesity. She is co-founder of the Best Food for Families, Infants, and Toddlers program, a community focused intervention project to prevent childhood obesity. Recent Best Food FITS activities include a restaurant intervention to improve children’s menus, and projects to improve the food environments of child care centers and family homes. Dr. Friedman’s primary teaching focus is Medical Nutrition Therapy. She teaches the Advanced Medical Nutrition Therapy class. She has recently started a private practice specializing in helping clients choose healthy and delicious foods for wellness and treatment of nutrition related diseases.

Sylvia Crixell, PhD, RD
(Internship faculty since 1997)
Dr. Crixell is a professor of nutrition in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences. She received her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin in biological sciences and nutrition. Dr. Crixell’s research has focused on child nutrition and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Dr. Crixell is co-director of Best Food for Families, Infants, and Toddlers (Best Food FITS!), a community-based program dedicated to decreasing child obesity by making it easier for children and families to choose diets rich in fruits and vegetables and to avoid sugar sweetened beverages. Best Food FITS has worked with area restaurants to improve children's menus and offers cooking classes in the Chapultepec Adult Education Building. The most Best Food FITS initiatives have involved improving nutrition in area childcare facilities.

Lesli Biediger-Friedman, PhD, MPH, RD, LD
(Internship faculty since 2012)
Dr. Biediger-Friedman is an Associate Professor in the Nutrition and Foods Program in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences. She earned her bachelor’s degree and PhD from Texas Tech University and completed a Master in Public Health as well as her Dietetic Internship at Benedictine University. Dr. Biediger-Friedman is a policy-, systems-, and environments researcher, whose interests include public health nutrition programs, health disparities, promoting access to healthy foods, weight management, and chronic disease prevention. Currently, her teaching focus is community nutrition, policy, and ethics. She teaches the Advanced Community Nutrition course.