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Pat Babjak MLIS '75 & Joe LasCola '11

Joe LasCola ’11 has been a leader his whole life. So after he completed his degree in nutrition and dietetics at Dominican, says Pat Babjak MLIS ’75, chief executive officer of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, there was no question he could help steer recruitment efforts for the Academy.

“Joe worked as an intern at the Academy when he was completing his didactic internship in dietetics, and we benefited greatly from his service,” Babjak says. “Because of his proven abilities, we offered him a position when he graduated. He’s a an excellent project manager who exemplifies the Academy’s values.”

LasCola now works as a recruitment coordinator for the Academy, a position that requires strong collaboration and communication skills as well as a commitment to cultural diversity and respect for diverse perspectives.

“At Dominican, I learned a lot because I was challenged to be accountable to my classmates,” LasCola says. “The small class sizes made it important to build good communication skills, which is very important in collaborating with other people in my department.”

Babjak was confident in LasCola’s abilities in part because of her own Dominican experience. She began working for the Academy, which previously was known as the American Dietetics Association, in 1976, after completing her master’s degree in library and information science at Dominican.

“The liberal arts education and critical thinking skills provided a strong foundation for my career in association management,” she says. “Dominican students have emotional intelligence, curiosity and the ability to apply theoretical knowledge to all practical situations, skills that help prepare them for success in any field.”

Dominican’s Department of Nutrition and Dietetics offers degrees in nutrition and dietetics, food science, food industry management and Culinology® as well as a dual MBA/RD program with the Brennan School of Business.

Over several decades of its history, the department’s faculty and alumni have created a strong track record of leadership in ethics and social justice for the nutrition and dietetics field.

“I am an ambassador for my school, where I received a wonderful education. I am committed to giving back both as a donor and as a mentor,” Babjak says.

Babjak’s daughter, Katherine, graduated from Dominican in 2011 with a degree in business administration and is now pursuing graduate studies at the DePaul University School of Public Service.

“I was so proud when my daughter decided to attend Dominican. She wasn’t just following in her mom’s footsteps. She made her own decision based on what she was seeking, which for her was a business administration degree,” Babjak says. “I am so happy that two generations of our family can call themselves Dominican alumni.”

LasCola plans to continue that tradition of making a difference, in both his profession and for future students.

“I would love to help future students with whatever they need to be successful in the workforce,” he says. “It’s important to show that you care.”