Anne Bodenrader '25G

Seeking connections between diet and health
UNH graduate student Anne Bodenrader

Anne Bodenrader is a nutritional sciences doctoral candidate from Pelham, New Hampshire. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Dartmouth College and bachelor’s degree in nutrition: dietetics from UNH.

While she is unsure where this next stage in her life will take her, she has had a wonderfully varied career path up to this point: she has been a ski instructor, a business strategy consultant, a manufacturing repairs sales manager, a knitting instructor, a graphic designer, a marketing assistant, a copy writer, and an editor.

COLSA: How would you explain your discipline and/or research to a non-scientist?

Anne Bodenrader: I am looking for connections between diet and health outcomes, specifically between different types of fats and how they may benefit many of our chronic health problems today.

COLSA: What do you wish your colleagues/friends/family knew about your work?

Anne: I have no idea where my work will lead me. I have put my faith in this process and myself; there is no plan. I cannot say enough how much my friends’ and family’s support means to me as I embark on this new path. Their faith in me that I will make a difference, even if I don’t know what that is yet, bolsters me when I am filled with doubt.

UNH graduate student Anne Bodenrader and her two daughters

COLSA: Why is your research important?

Anne: I used to think science and research were about making big discoveries. Now I know research is a slow process made up of small steps and some missteps. We are building a staircase towards the truth, and it takes many people working in different institutions and on disparate projects to lay each piece of new information to increase our knowledge and correct previous pieces to ensure the foundation for the next step is solid and true. My work is a small contribution to an enormous whole, and I am very proud to be a part of this process.

COLSA: Have you learned/discovered anything during your research that’s surprised you? If so, what?

Anne: I was surprised by the disparity between our true knowledge of how foods affect our health and how the food industry has modified foods to meet a market anxious for what they think might be healthy food. Many of our foods have ingredients that are substitutions for traditional ingredients to achieve certain fat or sugar content, but there is little true understanding if we are improving the health of our foods.

COLSA: What do you consider your biggest challenge?

Anne: My biggest challenge is balancing everything – my desire for perfection against the need to produce results or the amount of work I must accomplish while making time for my family. There are many different areas calling for my time and attention, and I want to accomplish everything perfectly. It’s hard to make choices and set priorities and know I can’t do everything, especially everything perfectly.

COLSA: What drives you?

Anne: My favorite quote is from Walt Disney, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” I am curious, and my desire to know the answers to questions that are being debated in the media has opened new doors for me and has absolutely led me down new paths. It is my curiosity and need to keep growing, learning, and doing that drive me.

COLSA: What are you most proud of?

Anne: My children. I am proud of the thoughtful young women they have become, and I want to make them proud of me.

COLSA: Why did you choose UNH?

Anne: UNH is a great community of researchers and educators who all work hard to improve how we learn and share knowledge. I am honored to join this group who are so passionate about nutrition, education and research.

COLSA: What do you plan to do with your degree?

Anne: I am not sure what my next step will be, but mostly to continue pushing nutrition knowledge forward.