Olivia M. Thompson, Ph.D., M.P.H. (Principal)
Olivia M. Thompson is a nutritional scientist with over 15 years of public health experience in both private and public sectors. She earned her Master of Public Health Degree in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education from Emory University and her Doctorate in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Washington. Additionally, she has completed research fellowships at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Thompson currently serves as an associate professor with the College of Charleston, her alma mater, where she directs an academic program in sustainable food systems; teaches public health courses; and conducts research in the areas of food systems, dietary behavior and assessment, chronic disease prevention and control, and implementation science. This project, U.S. Schools Cook!, is the result of a multi-year evaluation of nearly 400 school nutrition staff across 170 schools participating in a skills-based culinary training course that was a component of a larger farm-to-school initiative funded by The Boeing Company. As an advocate for child health and wellness, Dr. Thompson is excited to bring her research into practice and share this tool with her South Carolina community as well as school nutrition professionals across the country.
Robert Miles Huff, M.S. (Project Chef)
Robert “Miles” Huff is an American Culinary Federation (ACF) Certified Culinary Educator (CCE), an Approved Certification Evaluator (ACE), and a National Restaurant Association (NRA) ServSafe instructor and test proctor, who started his personal consulting business in 2014 upon his retirement from the Culinary Institute of Charleston (CIC) at Trident Technical College (TTC) in Charleston, South Carolina. He was born in Summerville, South Carolina. Upon graduating from high school in 1976 Mr. Huff joined the United States Air Force and served on active duty until 1985. He continued in the Air Force Reserves until retirement from military service in July 2002 after more than 25 years. In 1987 Mr. Huff graduated from Johnson and Wales College (Charleston, South Carolina campus) with a degree in culinary arts. Over the next seven years Chef Huff worked as a personal chef for an Air Force general at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, Sous Chef at a County Club in Nashua New Hampshire, Restaurant Manager and Executive Chef at the Officer’s Clubs at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. In 1994 Chef Huff earned a bachelor’s degree in Workforce Development at Southern Illinois University (McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey campus) and worked as an instructor at New York State Board of Cooperative Education Services to teach culinary arts, English as a second language, and GED for the next two years. From 1996-2000 Chef Huff taught culinary arts in Sumter County South Carolina for students from three local high schools. From 2000-2004 he taught at Johnson and Wales University (JWU). While working at JWU Chef Huff earned a master’s degree in management from Southern Wesleyan University. From 2004-2014, Chef Huff was a culinary instructor and the Culinary Coordinator for The Culinary Institute of Charleston at Trident Technical College in North Charleston, South Carolina. As a consultant, Chef Huff is making full use of his 30-year career in culinary arts and education to help meet the community’s vast needs for experienced chef educators and consultants with a vision and passion for student nutrition, adult education, and career development.
Sally Nicholson, R.D.N., L.D.N. (Project Dietitian)
Sally Nicholson is a registered, licensed dietitian who has worked across multiple sectors including healthcare, business and industry as a consultant, and school food service as a director of multiple child nutrition programs. Most recently Ms. Nicholson’s specific areas of expertise have been in the field of child nutrition. She works with program staff to improve areas of customer service, nutritional standards, recipe development, and developing quality, cost-effective programs. Additionally, she mentors dietetics, food, and nutrition majors and dietetic interns from two of South Carolina’s major universities. Career highlights include South Carolina Outstanding Dietitian of the year for the Upstate Region in 2014, Director of the year for the South Carolina School Nutrition Association in 2015, and President for the South Carolina School Nutrition Association. Her business accomplishments include taking school food service programs operating at annual deficits of $500K or more to performing as a profitable program within two years or less. Throughout her career Ms. Nicholson has always been known for her passion for living a healthy lifestyle and preparing and eating healthy foods. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, School Nutrition Association, Upstate of South Carolina dietetic practice group and the South Carolina School Nutrition Association. Ms. Nicholson is currently working with Lexington School District One in Lexington, South Carolina as their food service director and registered dietitian.