Employed by the US military as a ski instructor in Germany, third place winner at the Young Investigator Awards contest in Austria and recipient of the 2013 Graduate Research Grant, Erika Rauk has no shortage of accomplishments. Rauk is currently a graduate student at MSU who expects to graduate in May with a master’s degree in exercise physiology and nutrition.
Rauk is originally from Kalispell, Mont. She received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Montana in 2004 and graduated with a second bachelor’s degree in 2010 from MSU in food and nutrition. Rauks’ interest in nutrition was fueled by her time working in a UM lab where some of the research was food based.
After her time at UM, Rauk made an unusual transition. She spent one season working for the US Military as a ski instructor at a resort in Germany. “I saw it in the newspaper and initially thought it was a joke. I told my boss at the time and he said that if I didn’t apply for the job he would fire me. It was such a cool opportunity; I couldn’t pass it up,” Rauk said. The break from schooling allowed her to relax and enjoy her time outside of the classroom.
Rauk returned from Germany and worked for a year in the UM research lab for arsenic and skin cancer research. She simultaneously worked for an environmental remediation company called Envirocon for two years. Rauk then started school at MSU in 2008 for her BS in food and nutrition. She began working on her master’s degree in 2012. In December 2013 Rauk won third prize for the poster she presented: “The Influence of Slope Angle and Gate Length during Slalom Training in Developing Alpine Ski Racers.”
Rauk completed a dietetic internship through Idaho State University in May 2011 to become a Registered Dietitian, and then worked for a year in Butte as an RD for a St. James Healthcare. Her work completed at UM has also been published in the “Journal of Chromatography, Electrophoresis, and Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry.”
She was the recipient of the 2013 Graduate Student Research Grant Winner from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition. The funds are being utilized for her thesis research comparing high fructose corn syrup-sweetened beverages and glucose-sweetened beverages and their effects on exercise metabolism.
Rauk’s other research projects lately include a small pilot study involving studying ski instructors at the Yellowstone club with an emphasis placed on their energy expenditure.
Rauk also saves time in her schedule to apply for employment after graduation. “Ideally I would be a clinical dietitian and do work in a hospital, including research with patients in intensive care units or the NICU. It’d be focused a little more on the chemical side,” Rauk said.