Science through Translational Research in Diet and Exercise (STRIDE) Director Ann McDermott left it this past fall, leaving the program without a designated leader for an entire quarter.
Instead of falling apart though, STRIDE continues to run smoothly, according to recently hired interim director Dr. Aydin Nazmi, a faculty member in the food science and nutrition department. Nazmi will serve as interim director until the position is filled in June 2014.
McDermott was hired in 2007 to start the program at Cal Poly and ran it for five years. She was offered a job in late August as assistant director at Johns Hopkins Global Center on Childhood Obesity. The faculty and students were sad to lose such a valued leader, however they understood what a wonderful opportunity Johns Hopkins is.
McDermott’s rapid departure left the program without a director, but with the help of staff and students involved with the program, STRIDE continues to grow and develop.
Nazmi, who was heavily involved in STRIDE’s research, said he has a good feeling about the different components of the program and plans to continue growing STRIDE in a fashion similar to McDermott’s.
“We’re discussing with students associated with STRIDE, researchers and faculty members to evaluate exactly where we are,” Nazmi said. “But I don’t think there will be any drastic changes for STRIDE in the near future. We’re going to keep doing what we do best.”
Nazmi adjusted to the promotion and an increase of workload well, he said. The students and faculty all have a good handle on what they’re doing, which makes the transition a lot easier, he said.
The feeling of respect is mutual among STRIDE staff members, such as community liaison Stephanie Teaford.
Nazmi has a very strong research interest and brings a great skill set that STRIDE values, Teaford said.
“I think Nazmi appreciates and values everything we’ve built in five years so we should be continuing in the same direction,” Teaford said. “We’re all very excited to work as a team to move toward building on the great foundation that we’ve started.”
Teaford said the transition between directors went very smoothly for the organization.
“Our students were very professional and continued to run the office in the way that they had been accustomed to,” Teaford said.
STRIDE Public Relations Media and Graphics coordinator and journalism senior Kelsey Hollenbeck described the transition period as quick, because of McDermott’s rapid departure, yet smooth because the program was not set back much, she said.
The nature of her workload switched, but the amount remained the same, Hollenbeck said.
“The transition gave us an opportunity to reorganize some internal processes,” Hollenbeck said. “But other than that there haven’t been any changes.”
Overall, Hollenbeck has embraced the slight shift in the internal processes, which has allowed her to work with adults and professionals at almost an equal level, she said.
STRIDE Administrative Support Coordinator Kristina Wong also had to adjust to a revised set of job duties.
“My job responsibilities have shifted and changed, but it’s part of the process,” Wong said. “We do what we need to do and get it done.”