University of Vermont

Honors College Alum Publishes Article on Nutritional Requirements for Backcountry Athletes

Erika Hesterberg

This past November Erika Hesterberg ’12 had the distinction of publishing her Honors College thesis in an academic journal. Her work, “Nutrition in the Wilderness: An Exploration of the Nutritional Requirements of Backcountry Travelers,” was listed as the feature article in the November/December 2013 issue of Nutrition Today.

Hesterberg’s article is an examination of the nutritional needs for those who pursue outdoor sports or other expedition activity in the backcountry, and it details the factors of backcountry activity that can significantly influence a human’s nutritional needs. The article is the culmination of Hesterberg’s Honor's Thesis, which she pursued under the guidance of Dr. Mingruo Guo in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences. After successfully defending her work, she worked with Dr. Rachel Johnson, who served as her advisor while she pursued publication.

“Having grown up in Colorado with a life full out various outdoor pursuits, my belief in the power of being active in the wilderness has always been strong,” Hesterberg said. “My fondness of the outdoors continued to grow throughout college as I participated in a NOLS [National Outdoor Leadership School] course, led for the Outing Club, and began rock climbing. Simultaneously, I was pursuing a degree in Nutrition and Food Sciences…my thesis, Nutrition in the Backcountry, provided me the opportunity to blend two of my undergraduate passions.”

Hesterberg graduated Magna Cum Laude and as a Mortar Board Scholar in 2012. She is now back in Colorado working for Colorado Outward Bound School as an educator and logistician. 

“In my job I have been provided the great privileges of developing and implementing a semester long backcountry nutrition curriculum, introducing students ages 12 and up to the wonder of the wilderness, and scaling glaciated peaks in Ecuador,” Hesterberg said.