Southern (S-AZAND)

“Thank you for your membership and dedication to SAZAND and welcome to the 2019-2020 membership year! As your SAZAND president, I am excited about the upcoming year and look forward to serving the Southern Arizona dietetics community. Your SAZAND board has been hard at work to foster new professional collaborations and create an organization that works for you. This year we plan to bring you a diverse set of educational, community service, networking, and professional development events. We will continue to reach out to you through our monthly newsletter and Yahoo Group listserv and hope you can take some time this year to join us and get to know your board members. Thank you for your commitment to SAZAND!”

Veronica (Ronnie) Mullins, MS, RDN, CSCS

President, 2019-2020

Southern Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics


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Meet the Board:


Veronica (Ronnie) Mullins, MS, RDN, CSCS: President

Ronnie Mullins is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Arizona where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in sports nutrition and food systems. She is passionate about teaching future Dietitians and was awarded the 2017 Bart Cardon Early Faculty Teaching Award, recognizing and honoring unusual dedication and outstanding performance by a member of the teaching faculty who is within their first 5 years of teaching at the university.

Ronnie has spent her career working with athletes and active individuals. She worked as a sports nutrition specialist at Canyon Ranch Resort Spa in Tucson, Arizona; as the team nutritionist in the National Football League for the Arizona Cardinals; and as a member of the Nutrition Division of the Combined Event Athlete Development Project working with male and female U.S.A. Olympic track and field athletes. After earning her certification as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist from the National Strength and Conditioning Association in 2004, Ronnie worked privately with athletes and active individuals as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. In addition to her work with athletes, Ronnie has written many publications and workshops on nutrition and body composition including co-authoring, Winning Sports Nutrition 2nd Edition, a continuing education course for sports and nutrition professionals published in 2013.

Ronnie is active the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at the state and local level. She served as the State Policy Representative for the Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AZ-AND) for two years and is the current President for the Southern Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (S-AZAND).



Jacob Fleming, MS, RDN : President-Elect

Jacob Fleming is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Academic Advisor for the University of Arizona Online’s Nutrition and Dietetics program.  The department of Nutritional Sciences was approved as one of only four ACEND Accredited Online Undergraduate DPD programs in the country. Since its inception, the Nutritional Sciences department has become the fastest growing program at the University of Arizona Online, a result of the department having the most comprehensive online dietetics program. Jacob enjoys serving the diverse body of students that now make up the next generation of RDN’s. 

Jacob is a native Tucsonan and graduate of the University of Arizona.  In his spare time, he likes to stay active in a number of ways from Yoga, Powerlifting, Triathlon, Roller Skating, Badminton, backflipping on his Scooter and everything in between.



Ashlee Linares-Gaffer, MS, RDN : Past President  

Ashlee Linares-Gaffer is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Arizona. She teaches two courses each semester and in addition to formal instruction, Ashlee is a coordinator of the Department’s dietetic internship program known as the Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway. This pathway provides direct training and supervision of 9+ dietetic interns each year, who upon completion of the program, will be eligible to sit for the exam to earn the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Credential. The ISPP Program at UA integrates agricultural education and experiential learning activities in addition to the standard dietetic training areas in order to promote food and agricultural literacy among future nutrition professionals. Ashlee is also a coordinator for SNAC, the academic advising center which serves 650+ undergraduates majoring in nutrition at UA. Under her leadership, the center leads departmental recruitment initiatives, provides numerous academic support services, and facilitates peer networking.

Ashlee is highly active in promoting increased food and agricultural literacy among dietetics students and professionals, as well as in promoting diversity in the profession of dietetics. In addition to serving as the President for the Southern Arizona District of the Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2018-2019 membership year, Ashlee also serves as the Diversity Liaison to the Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AZAND) and the Academy’s Member Interest Group, Cultures of Gender and Age (COGA).  



Aleya Islas, BS, Registration Eligible: Secretary 

Aleya Islas recently completed her Dietetic Internship in July 2019 with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health WIC Track. She has worked for the Arizona WIC program since 2016 and is excited to continue her work in community nutrition as an RDN. She was born and raised in Tucson, AZ, and graduated from the University of Arizona in 2014 with a degree in Nutritional Sciences. She continues to be an avid Wildcat fan and enjoys attending sporting events, and being active herself, in leisure softball teams and hiking with her dog. In addition to her personal extracurricular activities, she also serves as the Southern Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Secretary and is looking to become a more active member of the dietetics community.  



Whitney Wischki: Treasurer 

Whitney Wischki is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and has served on the Southern District board for several years. Whitney currently works for Emblem Hospice, Encompass Health Rehab Institute of Tucson, and also works as an outpatient wound dietitian for Tucson Medical Center. In addition to serving as the SAZAND treasurer, Whitney is active in AZAND public policy initiatives and advocacy for the profession of dietetics.



Ashley Klewer: Membership Chair

Ashley Klewer, RDN, is a newly registered dietitian in Tucson. Ashley received her bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Arizona. She completed the ISPP internship with the University of Arizona in 2017 and now works with WIC at El Rio Health. Ashley is excited to be involved with SAZAND as the membership chair and looks forward to supporting its members and promoting the growth of our district chapter.



Eliza Short: Communications Chair

Eliza Short, RD, is currently a doctoral student in the Nutritional Sciences Graduate Program at the University of Arizona. She is originally from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and received her BS in Community-Medical Nutrition and Dietetics from Viterbo University in 2016. She worked one year as a clinical dietitian in the acute care setting until continuing her education at the UA. In her free time, she loves to run, mountain bike, and cook. Eliza is looking forward to another year as communications chair, continuing to engage with the nutrition professional community in southern Arizona.



Alexandra Fowler, MS, RD: Nominating Committee Co-Chair

Alexandra Fowler graduated from the University of Arizona in 2012 and completed the Maricopa County WIC Track Dietetic Internship in 2015. She graduated from ASU in December 2018 with her Master of Science in Family and Human Development. Alexandra has extensive experience in community nutrition and WIC. She has also volunteered much of her time as a preceptor for several dietetic internships with the hopes of sharing her passion for counseling and maternal/child nutrition. Alexandra took the leap to start her own business this year, Atomic Nutrition LLC (@atomicnutritionaz). She is proud to say she works from home as an independent consultant and runs her own virtual private practice. Alexandra serves as the Nominating Committee Chair for the Southern Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics where she enjoys building relationships with other RDs. Outside of building her dream career, Alexandra enjoys traveling and camping with her husband and their dogs, petting sting rays at the Sonoran Desert Museum, and working on her vintage Ford Bronco. She is also learning Czech and has plans to obtain her private pilot’s license.



Caitlyn Schull, RDN: Nominating Committee Co-Chair 

Caitlyn Schull, RDN, MEd, is a Tucson native and proud Wildcat. Her education includes a Nutritional Sciences degree as well as a Master’s in Education from the University of Arizona. Caitlyn completed the ISPP Dietetic Internship in 2014. She has had experience as a personal trainer, and as a dietitian in multiple hospital, rehab, fitness, and private settings. Caitlyn is enthusiastic about her opportunity to work for Sierra Tucson and continues to meet with patients in her out-patient practice at El Con Health and Wellness.  She is excited to bring her extroverted personality to SAZAND to help recruit new members and leaders on the nominating committee!




Amy Drescher, PhD, RDN: Nominating Committee Co-Chair 

Amy earned her bachelor’s and Doctoral degree at the University of Arizona and completed a combined dietetic internship and graduate school program at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Her dissertation topic was nutrition and body composition change in oncology outpatients. Most recently, Amy served as the Director of the Dietetic Internship at Banner University Medical Center in Tucson until the program closed. She will be an Assistant Professor of Practice at the UA this fall for the Department of Nutritional Sciences. Her experience includes working as a clinical dietitian in Tucson, and as a Bionutritionist at the NIH funded Pediatric General Clinical Research Center in Colorado and then as in an NIH funded UA Respiratory Department’s Sleep Medicine research team. She then worked as an online instructor and program advisor for Central Arizona College. She is a sought out speaker, writer and workshop facilitator who brings experience from many areas in nutrition, including teaching, and research, body composition measurement and Telehealth consulting. In addition to spending time with her family, which includes her husband, three teenage boys and two rescue dogs, she also enjoys being an AFAA certified exercise instructor specializing in mat Pilates.   




Carmen Young MFN, RD: Community Outreach Chair

Carmen Young graduated from Bowling Green State University (Ohio) with a Bachelors in Dietetics in 2015. She then completed her combined Dietetic Internship and Masters of Food and Nutrition program at BGSU in 2017 as well. After a short stint in the clinical setting, Carmen moved to Piscataway, New Jersey to become a Performance Nutrition Assistant with Rutgers University Athletics. Here, she worked to fuel and educate several athletic teams including volleyball, soccer, gymnastics, rowing and football. After a year at Rutgers, Carmen made the move to Tucson to become an Assistant Professor of Practice at the University of Arizona in the Nutritional Sciences Department. She teaches undergraduate courses contained in the Sports Nutrition minor curriculum. She also works as a Nutrition Consultant at Sierra Fitness gym, meeting one-on-one with clients and providing group education workshops. In her free time, Carmen loves to hike around the many spots Tucson has to offer, travel all over and experiment with cooking and baking.


Job Opportunities

Registered Dietitian

Banner Health

Community Nutrition Specialist

Arizona Department of Health Services

WIC Investigations Manager

Arizona Department of Health Services