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Dusti (Eaton) Shay

MS Nutritional SciencesDusti (Eaton) ShayDusti (Eaton) Shay received her master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from MU in July 2019 and is currently continuing her work toward her PhD in the same field. Her master’s work focused on central sex differences in the brain in the absence of estradiol production and its influences on behaviors such as sleep and physical activity. Dusti’s current work continues to examine the estrogen’s role in the central mechanisms driving motivation for physical activity and other behaviors. While at MU Dusti received the Dale E. Brigham Teaching Assistant Award in Spring 2019.

Why did you choose Mizzou?

Having gotten my undergraduate degree from MU, I was very familiar with the research on campus. I already felt at home at Mizzou and once I discovered the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, everything seemed to be a great fit.

What is your thesis/dissertation about?

My thesis research investigated the sex differences in the nucleus accumbens brain region of wild-type and aromatase knockout mice (mice who can’t produce estrogen) and how these brain differences affected certain behaviors (e.g. physical activity, sleep, & anxiety-like behaviors)

Why did you choose the field you chose?

When I decided to get an advanced degree, I had been a teaching assistant for MU’s human physiology lab for 7 years. I was also a taekwondo/kickboxing instructor and personal trainer, so I had a strong interest in exercise/nutrition and loved teaching physiology. I have also always been oriented toward research in general. It made perfect sense to me to blend my strongest passions with this degree and make what I love a career.

Have your career goals changed?

My career goals have changed slightly. Originally, I wanted to stay for away from teaching because I had been doing it for so long. However, after being in this department for 3 years and getting experience as an online teaching assistant, I have discovered how much I value good teaching and how rewarding it is for me to engage with students and help them achieve their own academic goals. So, while my main goal is still doing research, I now see teaching as an important part of my future career.

Where do you plan to go upon graduation?

After graduation I plan to get a job in the Columbia region. I have a strong family base here and see the value in remaining local. My hope is to be able to both perform research and teach in some capacity.

What did you like about Mizzou?

Mizzou has a great balance of research and academics. There are lots of excellent opportunities for research at all levels, but professors also want to see students succeed in their academic work. I also appreciate that the environment at Mizzou encourages independent learning and students are challenged to take responsibility for themselves.

Who was your mentor?

My mentor is Dr. Vicki Vieira-Potter.