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Baking with Flair Klopfenstein holds a tray of freshly prepared cupcakes

Graduate Student has a Healthy Appetite for Media

Adrienne Klopfenstein combines journalism, health and cuisine

In an office overlooking the third floor hallway of School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Adrienne Klopfenstein (M.A.P candidate, Parker, Ariz.) sits surrounded by Macs. That’s not the only time she spends in front of a computer.

Klopfenstein is working on a project which combines her love for media and a healthy lifestyle. She has a health and nutrition Web site for Iowa City residents, Ripen Iowa, which includes profiles of healthy people, recipes Klopfenstein created herself and even an “Ask Adrienne” column.

Being active and living healthy has always been a life passion, Klopfenstein said. This isn’t surprising considering her father is a doctor and her mother was an aerobics instructor. But learning the Web has been a tougher task.

“It’s like learning a new language,” Klopfenstein said.

Klopfenstein completed her B.A. degree at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., where she majored in communication and minored in biology. After graduating in 2004, her love of media landed her a job at “Positively for Kids!,” a Seattle publication company that worked with children’s books.

Although she took a break from school, Klopfenstein knew she would eventually go back to study.

“Ever since I was little a master’s degree was a dream of mine,” Klopfenstein said. “I think the break was really necessary for me.”

Associate Professor Stephen Berry, who has been working with Klopfenstein on the Web site, describes her as a “very creative young woman” with a good work ethic. He first met her in his graduate level Contemporary Problems in Education class in fall 2008. When asked to be on her committee, Berry was pleased.

Having Fun with Professionalism Klopfenstein smiles in her kitchen

While his specialty lies in reporting and not designing the Web, Berry said he is learning from Klopfenstein along the way. But his strength in writing will be able to assist Klopfenstein in the reporting aspect of Ripen Iowa.

“I think her enthusiasm is going to make this successful,” Berry added.

Aside from working on her project, Klopfenstein is also a teaching assistant in Associate Professor Venise Berry’s class Media and Consumers and Associate Professor Leo Eko’s class Legal Issues in Mass Communication.

Although she did not necessarily see herself teaching when she first came to the UI, it has become one of Klopfenstein’s passions.

Eko was enthusiastic about having her as a teaching assistant after becoming acquainted with her through his course, which is required for M.A.P students. She, along with her colleague Nawaar Farooq (M.A.P. candidate, West Union, Iowa), have been teaching assistants in the course for three semesters, with this one being their last.

Klopfenstein is a very calm person and being level headed is important to be a teacher, especially for a class as large as Legal Issues in Mass Communication, Eko noted.

He also stressed the importance of diversity to his course, noting that Klopfenstein comes from a very diverse background.

“I think our team is a very good example of what can happen in this world if we tolerate each other and respect each other’s views,” Eko said.

“It’s one of the best teaching assistant teams I’ve had in a while,” he added, and he has been teaching this course at the UI for seven years.

While Adrienne plans to graduate this May, she hopes to continue working on her Web site, and possibly teach as well.

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