By: Nikki Nies.
In May 2013, I graduated from Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ with a degree in Nutrition and Food Science with a Concentration in Dietetics. I recently moved to the greater Chicago area, to complete the combined dietetic internship and Master’s program at Benedictine University.
I technically didn’t start my nutrition career until my junior year of undergrad. I had originally been a business major and I knew I had a lot of “catch up” to do to be in a position to apply for an internship the following year.
Throughout my internship application, I was eager to learn the ins and outs the nutrition field. There’s a place for everyone in the nutrition industry, part of your job is to find your niche.
During your application process, perhaps these tips can keep you motivated, sane and to remember why you’re applying in the first place!
- Say yes to every opportunity that falls in your lap! You might not have a writing background, but if your school’s nutrition club is looking for writers, volunteer! Don’t shy away from opportunities that you’re unfamiliar with. It’s great to show variety in your skillset and that you can and will take the initiative to learn and grow.
- Find a mentor. Yes, it’d be helpful if this person was a RD, but it’s more important to find a mentor that you connect and feel comfortable with. You can learn a lot from anyone if you want to
- Join at least one Academy Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) Dietetic Practice Group (DPG) or Member Interest Group (MIG).
- Being a part of AND has a lot of benefits, you’re more likely to connect with fellow RDs and students at a smaller scope. I joined the Chinese American Nutrition and Dietetics (CADN). Through this MIG, I’ve connected with fellow Chinese American RDs and students, helped pioneer a mentoring program, organized networking events, wrote for several newsletters and created flashcards for fellow members.
- Showing an interest in a concentration of dietetics shows long term thinking and gives you a bigger “net.”
- Have as many quality hands helping you with your applications. It’s great to varying perspectives and suggestions!
- Know the program better than the director! Be familiar with what’s shared on the internship’s website, latest news and WHY you want to go there!
- Have fun! While applying for internships will be stressful, don’t forget why you’re doing it–remember the big picture
Bottom Line: There’s always going to be someone or something that wants to give you advice, stick to who you are and know and you’ll shine! Good luck to all!