• YEAR: Freshman
  • MAJOR: Dietetics
  • HOMETOWN: Indianapolis, Indiana

Johanna Rohler

Creativity is the name of her game. An accomplished flutist and member of youth symphony orchestras, she is also a serious cook who seeks to better lives through healthy diets. As a child, she learned to read by poring over cookbooks. She has worked as a part-time personal chef and, over the summer, was employed in the nutrition services department at St. Vincent Carmel Hospital. She spends her free time inventing new recipes as well as making and appearing in cooking videos. Some day she hopes to have her own cooking show. Meet new Boilermaker Johanna Rohler.

Math + fashion + gourmet food = Johanna

"I once made a skirt from a math formula I'd written, instead of a pattern. It was a lot of fun, and I was proud of myself for being able to successfully transfer my idea from my brain to a formula on paper and then sew it into a wearable garment," she says. Even as a small child, Johanna loved gourmet food. "All my mom's friends were a little envious that I would happily eat everything from butternut squash to Brussel sprouts. A lot of the credit for that goes to my mom's good cooking, though," she says.

Cooking up creativity

As a child, she ran a home café - JoJo's Gourmet Restaurant - for friends and family. On the menu? Egg salad sandwiches, grilled cheese, hot dogs, and stir-fry. Her brother was the waiter.

"I'm a very creative person, so part of my love of cooking stems from being able to create art with the food," she says. "I also view cooking as a way to express love to my family and friends. I have always been exposed to special diet needs, so I am sensitive to people struggling in that area and like to help make life a little easier for them."

The fantastic flute

For Johanna, music is as nourishing as food. She began playing the flute at age 9 and was a member of the prestigious New World Youth Symphony Orchestra in Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Side-By-Side program. She commuted to Chicago twice a month for two years to study with a teacher there and then lived and studied there for six months. Among the highlights of her time in the Windy City - she performed as flute soloist in Bach's 5th Brandenburg Concerto with a small Baroque chamber orchestra and held an internship with the Christian Performing Artists Fellowship.

The clincher in choosing Purdue? The many top-notch musical organizations: "I chose to attend Purdue because of the stellar dietetics program and academic excellence. The opportunity to continue to perform in high-quality musical ensembles was the icing on the cake."

Recipe for success

Johanna hopes to use her training as a dietitian in a variety of settings. She really enjoys the hospital environment and also wants to be regularly involved with short-term mission work to help people in need around the world. Dream job? "I'd love to combine my passions for cooking, performing, and special diets and have my own cooking show to teach people how to make delicious healthy food that is practical for the busy modern lifestyle."