The summer following her graduation from Concordia, food/nutrition/dietetics major Katie Lee Rizzo ’95 moved to upstate New York for a dietetics internship. Afterward, she stayed to work for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) to provide outpatient nutrition counseling to participants in the program, which laid the foundation for the nature of her work.
Eventually, Rizzo left New York and moved to Columbia, Mo., where she worked as a registered dietitian at the University of Missouri Hospital and Clinics, working primarily in two different intensive care units. In this role, she also assisted in the management of patients using tube feedings and parenteral nutrition. She says that attending Concordia helped establish her desire to help others.
“Along with my parents, my time at Concordia taught me the importance of service to others and that service can take many forms,” she says.
That value has been a focal point of her career, but service comes in many forms. As her career progressed, her focus shifted to the legal side of the healthcare industry.
Rizzo had been working at the University of Missouri Hospital and Clinics for several years when she decided to further her education. She attended law school at the University of Missouri while continuing to work as a dietitian for an in-home infusion company that provides medication through IV injections for severe medical conditions. Law degree in hand, she then moved to St. Louis, where she worked for a law firm and later a multi-state health system. After a few years, she was able to convince her husband that Fargo is a great place to lay down roots and raise a family, so they made the move north.
She is now an attorney on the legal team at Sanford Health, the largest healthcare provider in the region, in a position that she finds fulfilling.
“I investigate claims and manage litigation for Sanford. I advise Sanford leaders, physicians and staff with respect to a variety of legal issues that arise,” she says. “Every day is different and my job is never boring! I find my work meaningful, interesting and challenging.”
Rizzo says that her undergraduate experience has touched other facets of her life as well.
“Of course, I received a top-notch education. However, Concordia influenced me in other ways as well, though I didn’t recognize it at the time,” she says. “Concordia affected my political views and also showed me that faith can weave through every aspect of your life if you want it to do so.”
Rizzo says that the liberal arts education she received as a part of Concordia’s nutrition and dietetics program helped broaden her skills and knowledge across a range of areas.
As a lifelong servant to others, Rizzo’s career path has undergone some major changes, ultimately leading her back to the Fargo area. It all started with an internship. Her advice to current and future Cobbers emphasizes the value of being adaptable to changing conditions.
“You don’t need to know right now what you want to be when you grow up. College isn’t an end point; it’s a beginning,” she says. “Use Concordia as a tremendous launching point for starting the rest of your life.”