Since coming to Iowa State as a dietetics major, Jade Gibson has become involved in several organizations that promote body positivity. One of those organizations is the Body Image and Eating Disorder Awareness club, of which she currently serves as the co-president. Contributed photo.

Body image awareness, body positivity large part of graduating student’s time at Iowa State

Since coming to Iowa State University to pursue a dietetics degree, Jade Gibson has been active in a number of activities and clubs related to body positivity.

A senior in dietetics, Gibson spent her freshman year of college at the University of Northern Iowa, where she studied exercise science. After talking to her roommate’s friend about the dietetics classes the friend was taking, Gibson started thinking about making the switch to dietetics. Gibson began communicating with academic adviser Anne Oldham at Iowa State, as well as HyVee dietitians, which lead her to the decision to pack her bags and head to Ames to pursue a dietetics degree.

“I’m a Hawkeye fan who thought I would never go to Iowa State,” Gibson said with a laugh.

When a doctor told her there was a need for dietitians who specialize in eating disorders, Gibson began looking at how she could incorporate that into her career path. To gain more information about eating disorders, she soon joined Iowa State’s Body Image and Eating Disorder Awareness (BIEDA) club.

It didn’t take her long to become heavily involved in the club. Her junior year was spent serving as an event coordinator, organizing activities for BIEDA week. This year, she’s served as co-president of the club and once again coordinated BIEDA Week’s activities.

“I’ve gotten to know a lot of dietitians,” Gibson said of her involvement in BIEDA. “Seeing how the events impact the community and students on campus has made me realize how important it is to stay passionate about body image and eating disorder awareness.”

In addition, Gibson has been a peer facilitator for The Body Project and served as a Peer Wellness Educator, creating a program called Project Nurture that emphasizes intuitive eating and body positivity with mindful movement.

Alison St. Germain, clinician and faculty adviser for BIEDA and The Body Project, said Gibson has done an “outstanding job” of organizing programs related to body image, body positivity and prevention of eating disorders.

“She has an upbeat personality and is kind and compassionate, so it makes it easy for the attendees to be open and talk with her,” St. Germain said.

Gibson named St. Germain as one of the most influential people who has affected her time at Iowa State.

“She’s provided me with many opportunities,” Gibson said of St. Germain.

The next step for Gibson is to head to the University of Iowa, where she will complete her dietetic internship. From there, she’d like to obtain her master’s degree and possibly doctoral degree in dietetics to better assist individuals with eating disorders someday.