Before deciding to attend the University of Wyoming to continue his education in nutritional science, Connor Rindler of Laramie was a professional chef.

As a nontraditional UW student, he approached his classes in a unique way.

“I have been able to treat my classes as a job,” said Rindler, who graduates today with a 3.9 GPA and will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in family and consumer sciences, with a concentration in dietetics.

“My previous career in the kitchen installed a maturity and unique attitude that helped me develop solid study habits as a student,” he said.

Those qualities helped make Rindler one of three recipients of the Tobin Memorial and Rosemarie Martha Spitaleri Outstanding Undergraduate Award as an outstanding graduating student. The award recognizes students for exhibiting the finest qualities of leadership, academic integrity and citizenship.

Also receiving the award are Wendy Luna Garcia, of Wheatland and Hannah Rhymes of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Rindler has been accepted into a dietetic internship and master’s degree program at Drexel University in Philadelphia, where he plans to study sports nutrition.

“While my individual pursuits and accomplishments have been a valuable part of my academic career, I also have appreciated the opportunities to lead, guide and shape fellow students,” he said.

Throughout his UW career, Rindler has been active in several organizations such as Phi Upsilon Omicron as its president; the Student Dietetics Association as vice president; and Mortar Board in various capacities.

Additionally, he has volunteered with Healthy Kids Rx, was an AmeriCorps Vista summer associate for Feeding Laramie Valley and is a teaching assistant for classes in the UW College of Business as well as the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences.

“Connor is an excellent leader with a positive attitude, a willingness to engage and empower others and responsiveness to any request or question, whether it is with instructors, peers or students,” said Jill Keith, an assistant professor in the UW Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. “He is relational and shares open and engaging conversation with everyone he interacts with.

“Connor is an outstanding student who is passionate about the role of nutrition in health and physical performance.”

Christine Wade, chair of the university’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and adviser to UW’s chapter of Mortar Board, notes Rindler’s work outside the classroom.

“I have had the pleasure of working closely with Connor as he has led our Mortar Board events this year,” Wade said. “I cannot speak highly enough of his work ethic, tenacity, dedication and overall positive attitude.”

With all of his academic endeavors, perhaps Rindler’s proudest moments among have come during his community involvement.

“As a community member, I have been blessed to spend time working with kids at Healthy Kids Rx, providing nutritional education to parents and leading physical activities for children ranging from kindergarten to high school,” Rindler said.

As an AmeriCorps Vista summer associate stationed at Feeding Laramie Valley, Rindler said he had an opportunity to help shop, plan, cook, package and distribute more than 6,000 meals to children and adults who needed summer meal assistance.

“Each day I spent at UW shaped me into the man I am today,” he said. “I am grateful that UW has put me on a path to success in future careers.”

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