Southeast Missouri State University alumna Kelley Oswald of Ballwin, Mo., has two passions: dance and nutrition. Last season, Kelley expressed her passion as a dancer for the St. Louis Ambush Indoor Soccer team’s dance team while advancing her education by studying nutrition at Saint Louis University.
“Being a member of the team was a great experience and a lot of fun. Being able to dance beside my former teammates was just the cherry on top,” Kelley said.
Kelley was a Sundancer while attending Southeast Missouri State University. One of Kelley’s former teammates danced for the St. Louis Ambush Indoor Soccer team’s dance team and told her they were seeking dancers.
She and another friend traveled to St. Louis for the auditions, and later were informed they’d been selected.
“I thought it sounded like a lot of fun and would be a great opportunity. It really couldn’t have come at a better time. I had put dancing on hold for my dietetic internship and was really starting to miss it,” Kelley says.
As a dancer for the St. Louis Ambush Indoor Soccer Team, she promoted the team at games as well as at other events throughout the community. She performed before games, at half time, and cheered on the team throughout the games.
In addition to dancing, she is pursuing a path as a registered dietitian and recently completed her internship. She said she had to find an accredited internship after graduation, which are competitive to land. She secured one with Saint Louis University.
During her internship, she completed more than 1,200 hours of practice in the clinical, food service and community settings. She also volunteered at community health fairs and cooking demonstrations, visited St. Louis City public schools to teach children about gardening, and wrote for a Saint Louis University newsletter and blog. She also finished 20 hours of graduate coursework through Saint Louis University.
The next step on Kelley’s path to be a registered dietician was to sit for the registration exam. She passed it and is now a registered dietician.
She says she discovered her passion for nutrition at Southeast.
“I originally came to Southeast as a dance major. I knew I wanted to pursue a second degree as well, but just wasn’t quite sure in what yet. My second semester of my freshman year, I took ‘Nutrition for Health’ with Dr. Georganne Syler.
“Not only did I find the content of the class interesting, but she was so passionate about what she was teaching. It made me love it that much more. After one semester with her, I knew that a degree in dietetics would be the perfect thing to pair with my dance degree,” Kelley says.
She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in dance and a Bachelor of Science in human environmental studies with an emphasis in dietetics.
Kelley says she selected Southeast because of its location, competitive dance team and the newly built River Campus.
“The new River Campus showed me Southeast really cared about growing their visual and performing arts programs, and I knew great things would come of this. And where else are you going to find a dance studio that overlooks such a beautiful sight as the river and bridge?” Kelley says.
Kelley had been involved in competitive dance for many years before attending the University and didn’t want to give that up. She found performing with the Sundancers to provide the perfect outlet for her to express herself through dance.
“I think it’s safe to say all of my favorite moments at Southeast revolve around being a Sundancer. From football and basketball games to leading the Homecoming parade, representing Southeast out in the community to competing at nationals on the beach in Florida, I don’t think there could have been a better way for me to share my passion for Southeast or a better group of girls to do it with. I love Southeast,” Kelley said.
In addition to her position as a Sundancer, Kelley enjoyed expanding her knowledge in her classes and learning from her professors.
“At Southeast, I learned so much in the classroom, about myself, about life. Southeast has given me the tools and opportunities to be successful in whatever I choose to pursue, and supportive faculty that I know I can always look to for guidance, even now,” Kelley says.
After graduating from Southeast, Kelley began pursuing a Master of Science in nutrition from Saint Louis University. She recently became a registered dietician.
“My advice to students at Southeast would be to never give up. College is the best time of your life, but can be hard too. You’re living on your own for the first time and learning a lot about yourself and your values. It can also, unfortunately, be a time full of challenges.
“Don’t let these things stop you from finishing your degree or doing what you love. Take those challenges, and use them as motivation toward your goal. There is always a lesson behind every challenge,” Kelley says.