I was 14 years old when my father suffered a heart attack. It not only scared me but also changed my life because it was instrumental in my decision to attend the University of North Florida so I could learn more about nutrition and healthy living.
My dad survived the heart attack, but it made our entire family aware of the importance of nutrition and exercise in our daily lives. My dad is retired military, my mom is a nurse and I have two sisters. We all started reading food labels and understanding the consequences of poor nutrition and lack of exercise.
I developed a love of nutrition and that’s what led me to UNF. The faculty members in the Brooks College of Health share my passion for nutrition. My upper-level classes have been wonderful. The classroom experiences combined with my volunteer experiences at Nemours Children’s Clinic in Jacksonville and in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program have provided me with a truly transformational experience. It’s led to my decision to pursue my master’s degree and eventually work in the area of pediatric nutrition.
My non-academic experience has been transformational as well. I’m a senior resident assistant at The Crossings residence hall. I supervise a staff of nine RAs. That has forced me to develop my leadership skills as I serve as a role model for other students. I've had to handle conflicts among students in a professional and mature manner while offering guidance to my staff.
I’m also sincerely grateful for the Doughty-Panides Scholarship, which when combined with other scholarship assistance, made it possible for me to concentrate on my studies. I've avoided having to take out student loans and that is a tremendous help as I consider graduate school. I hope that one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals just as generous donors have helped me with mine.