Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Research, and Planning
Photo of Dr. Mary Catherine Fontenot

Dr. Mary Catherine Fontenot

Associate Professor

Department: Human Ecology

Phone: 318.257.2881

Fax: 318.257.4014

Email: maryf@latech.edu

Office: CTLH 145

Address: CTH 145

Ruston, Louisiana 71272



  • BS, Nutrition & Dietetics, Louisiana Tech University 1992
  • Dietetic Internship, La. Tech University, 1993
  • MS, Adult Education, Louisiana State University, 1997
  • PhD, Adult Education, Louisiana State University, 2008
  • MS, Nutrition Science, Meredith College, 2015


I have always had a love and appreciation for the soil, water, and the sun. So it is no surprise that I enjoy gardening, food preservation, and cooking and baking as a young child. In fact, when most teenagers were going out with friends, I could be found picking acres of corn and beans and sitting with my parents during the summer evenings removing the corn from their husk and the peas and beans from their shells. After graduating high school with four years of home economics coursework and numerous gardening awards and cooking demonstrations, it just seemed logical that I would declare nutrition as my program study when I enrolled in college. After completing my BS in Nutrition and Dietetics at La. Tech University, I discovered my love for the elderly and their special nutritional needs. Eventually, this love took me beyond the borders of the state of Louisiana to an area of the United States that remains somewhat forgotten and foreign to many – The Navajo Indian Reservation. My appointment as the Food Service Director of one of the five Health Service Units located on the Reservation helped me discover my love and adoration for cultural foods. I learned so much about the traditions of the Navajo Culture and was able to identify the commonalities I shared with them and my very own heritage—Cajun French. Since then, I have lived in the research triangle, Raleigh-Durham, NC where I learned about the diet practices of those living in the Appalachian Mountains and the trials and tribulations many experience due to being food insecure. I attribute my passions for good food, unrelenting need to feed  those in need, and the impact culture has on our life choices to my parents and grandparents who taught me how to eat well, respect the earth, and offer your abundance to those who need. I take great pride in hard work and enjoying the simple things in life—family, home-cooked meals, and traditions. I bring my life experiences, love for food and enthusiasm for using food as medicine to enhance the lives of others. Today I work as an assistant professor for the Nutrition & Dietetics program where I teach both graduate and undergraduate courses. I have the pleasure and privilege to share my passions with those who also enjoy all that food has to offer.

Research Interests

  • Food Insecurity
  • Aging & Nutrition
  • Chronic Disease, especially obesity and heart disease
  • Culinary Medicine

Courses Taught

  • Food Service Management
  • Food Science
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Worksite Wellness
  • Aging & Nutrition

Units and Center Appointments

  • MS Nutrition Program Coordinator