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Katie Hackney: Mastering Nutrition and Eyeing Veterinary Dreams

NC State '24 Grads with Mr. and Mrs. Wuf
NC State '24 graduates walking with Mr. and Mrs. Wuf during commencement.

For Sanford stay-at-home mom Katie Hackney, pursuing an online Master of Nutrition degree at NC State has brought her closer to realizing a long-held dream. This passionate learner started her journey in the fall of 2022, a decision that came four years after she completed her undergraduate degree in Animal Science. 

With aspirations to one day attend the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) at NC State, she believed that improving her academic credentials was essential to be competitive. “After some sound advice, I pursued a Master of Nutrition degree program to help show any future higher education admissions boards that I am academically capable of completing a degree program,” Hackney said.

Experience in the Program

NC State was an obvious choice for Hackney, not only because of her previous positive experiences during her time as an undergraduate, but also due to the flexibility of the Master of Nutrition program, which perfectly catered to her needs as a mother. “The online degree was a major selling point for me because it allowed me the flexibility to keep irregular hours in my day-to-day,” she explained.

The journey through the master’s program was rigorous but rewarding. Despite the challenges of distance education, she found tremendous support from the faculty. “Dr. Suzie Goodell was pretty great as an advisor and professor. She was always willing to discuss any questions or concerns I had,” Hackney said.

After completing two semesters, Hackney learned about the NC State Professional Science Master of Nutrition degree, a unique interdepartmental graduate nutrition program that blends business and nutrition science. This program didn’t just offer her a pathway to veterinary school, it also ignited the possibility of one day starting her own company. 

Balancing Life and Learning

Juggling the demands of motherhood and coursework wasn’t easy, but the asynchronous courses allowed her to manage her time effectively. “Balancing my work as a stay-at-home mom and completing my degree was hard most of the time. Since I’m always kind of working, I don’t have a regularly set schedule,” she noted. The flexibility of the program enabled her to attend lectures and complete assignments on her own time, which was crucial for maintaining her family life and educational goals.

Looking to the future, she sees her master’s degree as a vital launchpad for her veterinary school dreams and beyond. “I see my Master of Nutrition degree as a stepping stone on the way to vet school. I also see my degree as a way to gain more experience in the field of nutrition so that I might be able to get into public service work,” said Hackney. Now, post-graduation, completing her Master of Nutrition degree can be viewed as both an academic achievement and a pivotal moment in realizing her full potential. 

Reflecting on her journey, Hackney’s advice for other parents and working professionals considering an advanced degree or furthering their education is both affirming and inspiring: “Always strive to be your best self.”

Interested in advancing your career with the online Master of Nutrition degree from NC State Online? Visit the program page or for a full list of degree and certificate programs.