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Natalie Cooke

Assistant Professor, Director of Undergraduate Programs for Nutrition Science

Schaub Food Science Building, Room 218

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Teaching Activities

My teaching philosophy is inspired by the concept of self-efficacy, which can be defined as confidence in the ability to complete a certain skill. Our goal as educators is to equip students with the skills necessary to be successful and effective during their undergraduate and graduate student experiences and in their future careers. Albert Bandura describes the four sources of self-efficacy as vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, physiological state, and mastery. In my own teaching, I apply Bandura’s principles to course development and implementation. Put simply, in addition to discipline-specific knowledge, I provide students with (1) appropriate models whose best practices students can emulate, (2) encouragement and constructive feedback to grow in skills-based training; and (3) a supportive environment in which it is acceptable to fail to improve. By combining this trifecta of support with meaningful learning opportunities, I prepare students to (4) master the skills needed to be successful nutrition scientists, nutrition educators and public health professionals.

Every experience is an opportunity for learning, and building a supportive learning environment allows students to improve their self-efficacy. Therefore, as an educator:

  • I model enthusiasm for nutrition education in my own teaching while also providing opportunities for students to engage with other professionals in the field who can serve as role models and mentors.
  • During skill-building, I offer students both encouragement and constructive feedback to fuel student improvement. When offering constructive feedback, I provide clear examples of how they can improve, and I teach them to receive this feedback with grace.
  • I create a welcoming and supportive environment in which I make myself accessible as a resource when students have questions, make directions clear and assignments purposeful, and encourage class discussion to help explore the complexities of nutrition.
  • I offer a variety of opportunities for students to master discipline-specific skills as well as more global professionalism skills. Whether through traditional exams and assignments or through teaching evaluations, video projects, and portfolios, my goal is to provide students with ample opportunities to succeed in building new skills and exploring their own innate abilities.

Courses Taught

  • NTR 210: Introduction to Community Food Security
  • NTR 301: Introduction to Human Nutrition
  • NTR 302: Introduction to Nutrition Research, Communication, and Careers
  • NTR 492: Professional Internship Experience in Nutrition Science
  • NTR 493: Research Experience in Nutrition Science
  • NTR 494: Teaching Experience in Nutrition Science


  • Gertrude Cox Award for Innovative Teaching and Learning with Technology Award, team leader for the FBNS/DELTA collaborative with Dr. Suzie Goodell, Mr. Michael Cuales, Ms. Cathi Dunnagan, and Dr. Jessica White, NC State University (2020-2021)
  • Community-Engaged Faculty Fellow, North Carolina State University (2020)
  • Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) Faculty Fellowship, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2018)
  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Teaching Award of Merit, North Carolina State University (2018)
  • National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Outstanding New Faculty Advisor Award, NACADA Global Advising Community (2017)
  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award, North Carolina State University (2017)
  • New Faculty Advisor Award, North Carolina State University (2016-2017)
  • Nutrition Club Faculty/Staff Award, North Carolina State University (2016)
  • University Graduate Student Association (UGSA) Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award, North Carolina State University (2013)
  • Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences (FBNS) Duong, Green, and Gharst Food Science Leadership Award, North Carolina State University (2012-2013)
  • Opal Mann Green Engagement and Scholarship Award, member of the Gardening and Nutrition PIECES collaborative, North Carolina State University (2011)
  • Department of Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences (FBNS) Graduate Student Fellowship, North Carolina State University (2010-2011)
  • Roy H. Park Scholarship, North Carolina State University (2006-2010)

Professional Memberships

  • NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising (2016-present)
  • North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (2016-present)
  • North Carolina Dietetic Association (2015-present)
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2015-present)
  • Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (2012-present)
    • Higher Education Division
    • Digital Technology in Nutrition Education and Behavior Change
  • American Society for Nutrition (2010-2015)
    • Nutrition Education Research Interest Section


Dietetic Internship The Ohio State University 2017

Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Dietetics Meredith College 2016

Ph.D. Nutrition North Carolina State University 2014

B.S. Nutrition Science North Carolina State University 2010

B.S. Biochemistry North Carolina State University 2010

Area(s) of Expertise

My research expertise is the scholarship of teaching and learning, with a strong emphasis in qualitative research as an evaluative methodology. The goal of my research to improve students’ self-efficacy in nutrition science-related skills. My research involves developing best practices in the design and implementation of service-learning programs and the impact of innovative teaching techniques and technologies on classroom success and self-efficacy.