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Chiung Lien, UW-River Falls’ new dietitian nutritionist

November 5, 2018

At the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, there are many students who need professional assistance when it comes to dieting and nutrition. Chiung Lien, the new campus Dietitian Nutritionist, is that professional help. Lien has been helping students in as many ways as possible to make sure anyone can safely and happily enjoy dining at UWRF.

Chiung Lien was born and grew up in Taiwan, however due to circumstances, during her teenage years, she moved to the U.S. to live with her mother. After moving to the U.S. Lien went to college in Massachusetts and now has two associates degrees, one in computer science and another in culinary art. She also went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in culinary nutrition.

Chiung Lien may be new to the River Falls area, but she is ready to get involved with the community. Even though she is still settling in and getting used to the Wisconsin life, she already has plans to start helping people. When talking about community service Chiung Lien told a bit about her experience.

“Back in Massachusetts, we started a food drive, backpack for kids, and also local food banks.” She also talked about her hopes for the future when it comes to community service here in River Falls. “I’m working with my boss, the Fair for All program, and also we are working with the Journey House. We are also trying to reach out to more community outreach programs.”

Outside of work Chiung Lien likes to keep up to date with current diet and nutrition trends. She also enjoys cooking and trying new or even different foods from around the world. She spends some of her free time going out to different restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops so she can try the selections. Chiung Lien mentioned when talking about coffee shops that she once actually owned her own.

“I did own my own coffee shop when I was younger, in North Carolina, it was called Cafe Euro.” Sadly, she mentioned later that her coffee shop had to be closed.

Chiung Lien really enjoys traveling, as mentioned she was born in Taiwan before moving to the U.S. but has visited Japan, the West, and East Caribbean, Haiti, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Paris. She did also mention that she really would enjoy visiting Korea.

Throughout Chiung Lien’s life she has worked with food in many ways starting when she was a teen in fast food, then in a restaurant washing dishes, waitressing, bartending, and eventually managing. She opened her own coffee shop at one point but ended up closing it. She decided to go back to school and wanted to do something with food. Lien said she has always been one to watch what she eats.

“I love nutrition I’ve always watched what I eat and cooked to get the best nutrition out of the food. So I said ok I’ll go to culinary school, started culinary school, learned it, now I want to know about nutrition. So, I transferred into culinary nutrition, then I decided I wanted to be a dietitian.

Chiung Lien is in the camp of, don’t always believe what they say online. She thinks that the hardest issue people in her field of work face every day is misinformation. Whether it is something that someone saw on the internet or in a book they think that just doing what it says will work. She says for some people these plans can work, however, it is more effective if these people talk to a dietitian that can help plan catered towards their body’s genetics.

These are some final words from Chiung Lien pertaining to all students, about food allergies. “We are as a team trying, in the front of the house and back of the house, to prevent cross-contact, but I need students to help us as well. I’ve been trying to put signs out to tell the people to grab a new plate or bowl when they come to the GA station, GA station meaning top allergen-free station, but I don’t know if people don’t read the signs or just don’t care. For people who have bad allergies issues, cross contamination could be a real issue.”