When entering Rutgers, I started my academic career as an Animal Science major with the long-term goal of becoming a small animal veterinarian. During this time in my freshman year, I found myself becoming disinterested and unmotivated in my chosen major. My passion in the subject was declining and my grades were suffering. I quickly decided the right thing to do was to look into finding another major that would make me excited, motivated and would allow me to provide counsel to others in a meaningful way. During this time of searching, I tapped into my own hobbies and interests to hopefully find a parallel with another major. As a child and into my college years, I developed an interest in culinary arts and fitness as a hobby. I combined my interests in food and health with my fascination of science and medicine and decided to pursue a degree in Nutritional Sciences with the goal of becoming a Registered Dietitian. I started taking my nutrition courses my sophomore year and found myself immersed in the material and actively looking for ways to get involved in the diverse field of Nutrition.
Starting my sophomore year to my senior year, I have worked hard to excel in the field of dietetics by performing well academically, getting involved in organizations outside of the classroom, participating in volunteer opportunities and maintaining employment. For the past three years, I have maintained an active membership in the Rutgers University Nutrition Club and currently hold responsibilities with an executive board position as the recording secretary. Another academic organization that I have gained acceptance in is Kappa Omicron Nu, the Nutritional Sciences Honor Society. During my junior year, I stepped up as academic chair and currently hold the position of president for this organization, where we help guide our members into following our three main pillars: research, leadership and scholarship. The executive board and myself work hard to tutor, fundraise and volunteer within the nutritional sciences department and the New Brunswick community.
During my junior to senior year, I have been able to volunteer my time with different offices and organizations. My junior year and senior year, I volunteered my time with SNAP-ed to prepare and teach 6-week nutrition education programs to students ranging from kindergarten to the 12th grade. This past summer, I worked alongside my peers to create a Nutrition lesson to present to a children’s camp in Middlesex County to showcase the importance of MyPlate and to get them excited about trying new foods. Currently, I volunteer with Rutgers Athletics and work closely the RDs on staff with completing different tasks that help the athletes stay on track with their goals. These tasks include: keeping track of inventory, running fueling stations and preparing weight gain/loss packages. These experiences have allowed me to work with dietitians in different areas, ultimately helping me become more well-rounded and educated on different perspectives in dietetics.
One of my most memorable experiences during my undergraduate time at Rutgers was independently instructing an accredited college course titled, “Exploring Nutrition” to 25 freshmen year students. The summer before junior year, I created an extensive lesson plan that included topics ranging from MyPlate, macronutrients/micronutrients and the endless options that the field of Dietetics offers for prospective students entering the major. The excitement of being on the other side of the podium as an instructor and teaching others on the knowledge that I have gained in nutrition increased my passion for nutrition education and outreach.
In the summer of 2015 I was hired at St. Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick as a Call Center Associate in the Culinary and Nutrition Department. In this position, I have the responsibility of communicating with patients, over the phone and at the bedside, to retrieve their food orders for the day. I am required to provide guidance to make sure the patients are eating accordingly to their diets and at the proper times. Other tasks include inputting tube feedings, collecting calorie count values and monitoring food allergies. To complete these tasks, I have learned how to navigate C-Bord and McKesson, St. Peter’s current medical technologies. This job has taught me how to network with others, patience, empathy and customer service, which will help me succeed as an intern and in a clinical setting in my future career as an Registered Dietitian.
I want to become a Registered Dietitian because I want to help and educate others on how nutrition can aide the prevention or successful management of disease. My long-term goals for my career include working closely with diabetic patients in a clinical setting and becoming a certified diabetes educator. My short-term goals include gaining acceptance into a dietetic internship, to work diligently with my preceptors and to collaborate with a team of professionals in different areas of healthcare. My experiences in and outside the classroom have helped me pinpoint some of my strengths and weaknesses. I have excelled in being dedicated to my major and going for opportunities that have been presented to me to in order to learn more and gain new skills. Along with these opportunities comes more responsibility, less free time and more deadlines. At first I struggled with managing the responsibilities and put a lot of my stress on myself sophomore year. With time, I was able to improve on my time management skills by maintaining an organized schedule and routine that helped me multi-task efficiently, complete deadlines, perform well in school and manage my responsibilities.