Meet Park Faculty Scholar Suzie Goodell

Suzie Goodell

Suzie Goodell is an associate professor of nutrition in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a Park Faculty Scholar for the Class of 2024. She is also the director of the interdepartmental graduate program in nutrition. She is originally from Burleson, Texas, and earned degrees at Hardin-Simmons University, Texas Tech University, and the University of Connecticut. She has taught at NC State since 2008 and has long-established connections with the Park Scholarships program as a Park mentor

Goodell is passionate about community and public health nutrition. Her research focuses on childhood obesity prevention and intervention and the relationship between preschool-aged children and adults in their lives. Goodell developed Nutrition NUTS, a student outreach program that serves children from low-income families and their parents. 

Goodell lives in Raleigh with her husband and teenage daughter. They are foster parents who hope to add another teenager to their home in the next year.

What’s the best part about being a professor at NC State?

The best part of working at NC State is getting to work with the students. My job allows me to help them grow and learn in ways they didn’t think possible. It’s challenging and rewarding.

What’s the best flavor of Howling Cow?

Is there really a “best flavor” of Howling Cow? They’re all yummy. My favorites include Wolftracks, Java Bean, and Cherry Brick Road.

Suzie Goodell and her family
Suzie Goodell with her family

What inspired you to become a Park Faculty Scholar (PFS)?

While I’ve been considering becoming a PFS for years, this year felt like the best time for me to commit. I’ve been told relationship building is one of my strengths. If there ever was a year that needed a PFS who likes to connect and check in, the Class of 2024 (beginning in the middle of a pandemic) is the class for me.

Which Park experience or aspect of the program are you most looking forward to?

While we didn’t get to go on the Freshman Retreat to the mountains this year, I am looking forward to all of the retreats and trips with the students. Special memories are made during these times. While our virtual retreat wasn’t the same as past years’ experiences, I loved learning more about each scholar and seeing their personalities come out.

Natalie Cooke ’10 and Suzie Goodell at a
Park Scholarships social in spring 2015

Can you tell me about a Park Scholar who has inspired you?

That’s not fair! I’ve mentored 10 Scholars. My first Park Scholar mentoring experience was with Natalie Cooke ’10. She went from being my mentee to my Ph.D. student to my colleague and the director of undergraduate programs in nutrition science here at NC State. While each Park Scholar has a special place in my heart, she and I have been together the longest. Without her, I’m not sure how involved I would have been in the program.

What has been the most surprising, unexpected, or challenging aspect of your involvement with the Park Scholarships program so far?

My biggest challenge has been deciding when to say “yes.” When I say “yes,” I want to make sure I can commit to doing my best. There are always so many wonderful opportunities to serve. I wish I could clone myself and do them all.

What is one thing someone might not know about Park Scholars?

Park Scholars are just like all students. They are growing and learning. They don’t have it all figured out, even if others think they do.

What is one piece of advice you’d offer to Park Scholars?

It’s okay to “not know.” It’s okay to “change.” For students with so much potential, the options can be overwhelming. Instead of saying, “I have to know my path right now,” try saying “I’m going to try this and see if I like it or not.” If you decide you don’t like it, just check that off your list and try something else. If you decide you like it, stick with it.

What is something sophomore, junior, and senior Park Scholars should know about you?

I love food, I’m a huge Green Bay Packers fan, and I have two cats, Gizmo and Mimosa. In all seriousness, I am happy to help them, as much as I am happy to help the Class of 2024.