This year the Idaho Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is celebrating 70 years of our Idaho affiliate! As part of our celebration, we would like to recognize what Idaho Dietetic Interns and Students are doing and where they would like to go after the completion of their dietetic program.
Today, we are recognizing:
Student in the Coordinated Program in Dietetics at the University of Idaho
How did you become interested in nutrition?
I first became interested in the impact of nutrition on the human body when my father had a heart attack in 2012. Our family completely transformed our eating habits and we were excited to watch the steady drop in my father’s blood cholesterol. During my teen years, I became passionate about the role of nutrition in fueling an athlete’s body through my experience as an Irish dancer. When I ate real food (and plenty of it) my dancing was stronger and my mind clearer. I am excited to enter the profession of dietetics because I love to teach and I love to talk to people and learn from their diverse backgrounds. I am excited to expand my knowledge in order to help others improve their health and quality of life, just as I and my family have.
What has been your favorite experience from your dietetic program and/or internship so far?
My favorite experience from my dietetics program so far was sitting in on a Diabetes Education class at my local hospital. I had learned about diabetes in depth from textbooks, but I had never heard a dietician explain the condition to a newly diagnosed diabetic without any background in science. The patients were often overwhelmed and confused by conflicting nutritional information online. I was so impressed with the way the clinical dietitians simplified the concepts and made new diet programs sound approachable and manageable. After the dietitians broke down the difficult concepts and proposed simple changes to the patient’s eating habits, the patient left the hospital calm, motivated, and confident in the knowledge and tools they had been given.
Once you become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, what kind of work would you like to do?
I am excited about most of the potential opportunities that lie before me in the field of dietetics. I would love to work in sports dietetics, especially helping dancers develop a practical and performance-oriented view of body shape and dietary intake. I would also love to work in a clinical setting, especially as a first job. I would love to gain experience with a variety of nutritional conditions and interventions and a hospital would be a fantastic place to help people of all ages and backgrounds. Also, I have recently become interested in working as a NICU dietitian. I love nutritional calculations and I have often been told that I have a very calming personality in stressful situations. I might be a good fit for overwhelmed and emotional parents later on in my career.
What words of wisdom would you share with students who are interested in pursuing Dietetics?
Learn to love moderation. Don’t enter into the profession of dietetics to fuel an unhealthful obsession with clean eating or exercise. Don’t enter dietetics because you believe that there is only one specific diet that the whole world should follow. Yes, we should encourage a habit of eating real, whole foods. Yes, we should to be passionate about the power of food in the body and the mind. We should be excited to equip people with the knowledge and skills to improve their health. However, we will help no one if we approach our clients and patients from an attitude of pride. An all-or-nothing approach to nutrition is the best way to convince someone that they are not capable of change or improvement. Do not enter this profession in order to wave your nutritional prowess over the heads of the unenlightened. Instead, love people, love life, and love real food. Occasionally, have a bowl of ice cream. Unless you pair it with a side of raw chicken, I promise that it won’t hurt you.
What is your LinkedIn profile URL?
Thank you Katie and see you at the Idaho Annual Meeting April 19th – 20th in Sun Valley!