POINTE DE LANCE – Baylor University Athletics


Through Jerry hill
Baylor Bear Insider

Julie anna buzzardWaco’s first three years are a blur.

She suffered staff turnover in her own area, a change of coach in football, the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down varsity athletics for months and a generational snowstorm in February that shut down the school for a week.

Organizing the delivery of food and medical packages in these times of crisis, J-Buzz has been “the spearhead” in Baylor Athletics’ response to the needs of student-athletes for the past 15 months.

“The past year has shown and provided several examples of how quickly she can react to a situation, solve problems and ultimately provide support to our student-athletes,” said Kenny boyd, AD Senior Associate for Student-Athlete Health and Well-Being.

But, these moments of crisis only “complement what she does overall and how she looks after them” in Buzzard’s role as Director of Performance Nutrition.

“I think what a lot of people are seeing is food delivery,” Boyd said. “But, it’s also her one-on-one interactions with those struggling with other food and food sensitivities issues, and then the overall performance values ​​of what she does on that side as well.”

Julie Anna’s interest in sports nutrition actually started when she saw the benefits of one of her older sisters, who suffered from exercise-induced hypoglycemia as a high school runner.

“When I saw how she was able to deal with her nutrition so that she could run successfully and figure it out, I was like, ‘Wow, nutrition can really impact me,’ she said. “I started to really understand how I could eat better to be a faster runner and a better athlete. This is when sports nutrition emerges as a profession. Everyone knew what dietitians were, but they were only clinics, in a hospital. I really wanted to work with athletes. “

This is what led Julie Anna to leave a tight-knit community in Rockford, Ill., Where “everyone knew everyone,” and traveled 800 miles to enroll at the University of the Alabama in Tuscaloosa, with nearly 40,000 registrants.

“I didn’t know anyone when I went there,” said Buzzard, a cross country runner at Rockford Lutheran School who also played club football. “It was definitely a culture shock from Northern Illinois, a small private Christian school, where I knew everyone. I just like to put myself in new situations and meet new people.”

In addition to joining a sorority, her new “community” was Alabama Track and Field, where she was a student in athletic performance and nutrition.

“I was making hundreds of smoothies a day and couldn’t tell you how many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches we had to make,” she said. “It was a great experience, because I really got to know how much athletes eat. On the clinical side in hospitals, we don’t see what it looks like in a sports environment. I could see it and say: ‘ OK, that’s why I love nutrition. That’s what’s important to me. ” ‘

During most of her junior and senior years in Alabama, where she earned an undergraduate degree in human environmental science, J-Buzz commuted from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham three days a week doing 1,200 hours. from clinic to hospitals, nursing homes, and VA clinics to becoming a registered dietitian.


“You have to do an accredited internship to become (registered dietitian), and a lot of schools do that where you go into the masters and internship program together,” she said. “Luckily Alabama had an undergraduate program so I managed to cut it out, which then allowed me to become a dietitian before my masters degree. “

A sense of adventure rooted in family vacations, where they would mountain bike, hike in national parks, or ski and snowboard, led Buzzard to take up a graduate assistant position in Utah. State University. This time it was a 27 hour drive from Tuscaloosa to Logan, Utah, in two time zones and in a whole different world.

“I just wanted to go somewhere new,” she said. “I don’t know where I’m going to end up, but I love the mountains and would like to live there for a few years of my life. I could get my masters in nutritional science. And my head teacher who I would do my thesis research Underneath, she already had a game plan, because she was really into sports nutrition. It kind of fell into place. “

With the mountain pass entrance less than a mile from his apartment in Logan, J-Buzz has been trailering through the mountains almost every day. “I didn’t know how long I was going to be there, but I was definitely going to enjoy all the personal adventures that I love to do,” she said.

His thesis project involved a labeling system for gas stations, Buzzard said, “trying to get our athletes to recognize what the best pre-workout, post-workout, and just general food is to eat, on the base of labels “.

“We used that to determine what their choices were, and then we implemented the labeling system,” she said. “Then we asked them to take some downstream surveys, maybe a month later, to see if we had sparked a change in behavior.”

Calling Baylor “the perfect fit”, Buzzard accepted a post of deputy director of sports nutrition in July 2018 and joined an established sports science program that enjoyed “a lot of institutional and athletic support.”

She worked with 10 Olympic sports for just over a year, then added football in the fall of 2019, when the Bears finished 11-3 and went to the Sugar Bowl.

“Then COVID hit, and it’s just been a whirlwind since,” she said.

Promoted to his current role as Director of Performance Nutrition in March 2020, his job was dramatically altered soon after when the COVID-19 pandemic ended varsity athletics for the remainder of the spring semester.

“As dietitians we do clinics, we do education, we do homework and tests,” she said, “but the first thing you think about in a college setting is take care of our athletes from a nutrition and food service perspective. “

For the student-athletes who stayed in town, the problem was trying to get them food, Buzzard said, “because the dining hall is closed and they don’t really shop for groceries.”

“This is when we started going shopping behind the wheel of snack bags where we would test (COVID) everyone and get their orders,” she said. “We started doing this every week when everything was closed. Then we started sending care packages with protein powder and supplements to those who weren’t there. go through April and May, and we would call the people we needed. to check it out. “

As the student-athletes returned to campus and went through COVID isolation, the Buzzard team prepared care packages with pots and pans, cleaning supplies, paper products, and toiletries. grocery.

“It kept evolving and going further and further, depending on the landscape,” she said. “From a restaurant standpoint, we had to work with all of our caterers and really focus on what we were delivering. Where we used to do buffets and self-serve, now everything was wrapped and wrapped in a certain way.

In February, J-Buzz took on another head-on challenge when the school closed for a week due to a unique snowstorm in Waco that caused power outages and water line ruptures. Growing up in northern Illinois, this was nothing new to her.

“I grew up driving in the snow, I lived in the mountains, and I have a 4-wheel drive vehicle,” she said. “I felt like I was constantly running. There was a time when I cleaned the shelves at HEB with Hot Pockets, hot pies … maybe not the healthiest food, but we just needed the calories. for people who didn’t have one. Resources. “

Use of nutrition staff, student workers and sports administration, including the sports director Mack rhoades and deputy AD Dawn Rogers, they emptied the BANC freezers and packed cold meats, cheese, bread and snacks to “make sure people had food they might not have at home.”

“It was awesome, but we survived,” J-Buzz said. “And then of course that Saturday was about 70 degrees. You can’t even believe what just happened. It was crazy.”

The food service changes actually helped prepare Buzzard for his wedding in Waco on Saturday June 12.

“In the same way that we had to serve food on the road and here at (Waco Convention Center), we would prepare dishes on the plate and had seating maps. I had place cards for all the players. “she said. “I always joked, ‘I pretty much plan a wedding every weekend.’ So I think it’s going to be okay. “

Julie Anna met her fiancé, Andre Morard, a distance selling consultant at Moxie Solar, while they were both students in Alabama. Hailing from a Chicago area hockey home, “where everyone plays hockey,” she found a hockey player in Alabama, “who is a pretty rare breed.”

Julie & André

During the February blizzard, they snowboarded down a steep road in a Woodway neighborhood and found a frozen pond on which “I was able to skate with friends and play ice hockey in Texas,” he said. she declared.

Although they have no immediate plans this summer, the couple have “sweet dreams” of going on a delayed honeymoon after the 2021 football season.

“We want to have a great ski trip, maybe to Europe. Which is enough about the brand for us,” she said.

J-Buzz, who turns 26 in August, said she has personal goals “for what I want our department to look like and how we can grow nutrition and be better dietitians for all of our teams.”

“We saw early on that she was someone we had to keep,” Boyd said. “She quickly got the opportunity to oversee this area for our sports department because of her knowledge and the way she takes care of our student-athletes.”

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