Many experiences in my life have contributed to who I am today and where I will devote my energies as I pursue my career as a dietitian.
The field of dietetics first grabbed my attention when my father was diagnosed with liver cancer and I learned nutrition can be used as medical therapy. Unfortunately, my father passed away, but my interest in the field of nutrition continued to grow. After researching the University of North Florida’s accredited nutrition program I knew it was the place for me. When I graduate with a bachelor’s degree in health with an emphasis in nutrition and dietetics, I will have earned much more than a degree. I’ll have been given not only a direction in my career, but in my life as well.
In addition to my nutrition coursework, I’ve worked as a diet technician at Mayo Hospital. I became familiar with a clinical setting where I gained experience in several important areas including conducting nutrition screening on new patients and assisting patients with food selections based on their current diet orders such as heart healthy or diabetic diets. I also enjoyed doing volunteer work in the community. I volunteered at WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program on a weekly basis providing nutrition education lessons to program recipients. I’ve also been involved with the Atlantic Beach Mid-Week Farmer’s Market where I assisted vendors with setting up their booths and helped promote market foods by providing healthy recipe hand-outs based on foods sold at the market. I was fortunate to also be a camp counselor at the Florida Camp for Children and Youth with Diabetes where I improved my understanding of managing diabetes and helped teenage girls learn to count carbohydrates and calculate their insulin doses. All of these experiences have helped transform me — UNF played a major role in that transformation.
During my senior year at UNF I served as the president of the Student Nutrition Club which helped me develop leadership and professional skills. I hope to carry this trait with me into my career and be involved in dietetics not just in my place of employment, but also in the community and professional organizations.
I’m excited about my internship at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore. I’m sure it will be the perfect compliment to my classes at UNF and I’m excited about this last step toward becoming a registered dietitian.
I can’t say enough about the faculty in the Brooks College of Health. They are great mentors and always provide the advice I’ve needed in guiding my studies and career choices. I will be the first in my family to graduate from college and part of the credit goes to the Doughty-Panides Scholarship, which allowed me to concentrate on my studies at a critical time.
My experiences both on and off campus have convinced me I’d like to stay in a clinical setting. I hope to one day work with cancer and transplant patients and also become certified in nutrition support. Although it has been a long road getting here, I am starting to see my dream become a reality. I’m fortunate to have so many experiences while attending UNF and I have no doubt I’m on the right path.