New Hy-Vee registered dietitian Jena Pape, flanked by Brenna Haedt, 7, left, and Emma Stanley, 7, pick weeds in the One-Step Garden Wednesday morning. Pape is officially starting her new job on Monday. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com
New Hy-Vee registered dietitian Jena Pape, flanked by Brenna Haedt, 7, left, and Emma Stanley, 7, pick weeds in the One-Step Garden Wednesday morning. Pape is officially starting her new job on Monday. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

New smile in the aisles

Published 6:11am Sunday, August 3, 2014

Jena Pape was busy in the Hy-Vee One-Step Garden Wednesday morning, guiding children through weeding and making good things to eat — And she hasn’t even officially started yet.

Pape, a recently graduate of Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin this past May is filling the registered dietitian position at Hy-Vee, left by long-time dietitian Jen Haugen when she resigned to take a job with Austin Public Schools.

Pape’s official first day is Monday, but that doesn’t mean she’s waiting to get things done.

“I took my registered dietitian exam the end of June, then interviewed here the next week and then was hired,” Pape said. “It’s been crazy the last few months, but I’m excited to get started.”

Pape became interested in becoming a dietitian while in college when one of her assignments was interviewing someone in the field, which ironically took her to interview the dietitian at the Hy-Vee in La Crosse. From there, she interned at a couple other places, getting as much experience as she could.

From there, it’s just been a matter of getting involved in the community.

“I think that the thing excites me is the challenge of using my skills, getting in the community and help in the stores,” Pape said. “I want to work with all different age groups and work with families to help people make the small changes.”

For her first job out of college, Pape is stepping into some big shoes left by Haugen, but Pape got the chance to work directly with Haugen when their days crossed.

“I was here on Jen’s last day,” Pape said. “It was really nice to see how she does things, but I want to bring my own unique view to the table too.”

Pape said the welcome in the store as been amazing.

“Everybody in the store has been super nice,” she said.

Her time has only just begun, but Pape can’t wait to introduce herself to Austin.

New Hy-Vee registered dietitian Jena Papa, white shirt, talks to children taking part in the One-Step Garden Wednesday morning. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com
New Hy-Vee registered dietitian Jena Papa, white shirt, talks to children taking part in the One-Step Garden Wednesday morning. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

“I’m excited to meet people,” Page said, explaining her first real exposure to the community will be at the Mower County Fair this week. “I want people to feel comfortable coming up to me and asking questions. I’m excited to jump in.”

Getting to know Jena

Getting to know a dietitian is getting to know what they eat. Here’s a peak into what Jena Pape likes to each.

Favorite food: Tacos

•“I actually make bean tacos and use spinach and not lettuce. I like anything that comes in a tortilla.”

Someone gives you a strawberry. What do you make with it?

•“I really love smoothies. [Wednesday morning] we made strawberry and mango smoothies.”

People want to make a change, what can they do?

•“First I get the background of the improvements they are trying to make. I say start small. Like swapping out sour cream for yogurt. Small changes is what I try to focus on.”


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