Welcome back to the Nutrition In yoU blog. I’m Megan Farris, a second year Dietetic Intern and research graduate assistant, pursuing an M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics at NIU. I am so pleased to help keep the Nutrition In yoU blog alive this academic year. Emily Burns, the original contributor of the Nutrition In yoU blog, did an amazing job creating this blog. I am happy to announce that we’ll get a personal update on her journey as a Dietetic Intern in the coming weeks.
This year, we are following the blueprint Emily created by providing nutrition tips, keeping you abreast of special nutrition and health related events, and giving you firsthand insight into what it means to be a Dietetic Intern at NIU. We are, however, changing things up a bit. For instance, I keep using the word “we.” That’s because this year there will be two contributors for the blog.
Jackie Braun, my classmate, fellow Dietetic Intern, and graduate teaching assistant, will switch off with me to take the blogger helm throughout the semester, providing additional perspective on what it means to be a Dietetic Intern at NIU.
Let’s start this semester’s blog off with getting to know Jackie Braun, NIU Dietetic Intern and M.S. in Nutrition and Dietetic Candidate.
Profile on Nutrition In yoU blog contributor, Jackie Braun
Where did you get your undergrad? University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, B.S., Dietetics.
Why did you choose NIU?
I chose NIU because I would simultaneously complete my master’s degree and dietetic internship. I knew an M.S. in nutrition and dietetics would expand the knowledge I gained during my undergraduate career and allow me to become an expert in the field. Additionally, I was drawn to NIU for the dietetic internship with a community emphasis. I foresee myself working as a registered dietitian in a community setting such as grocery stores, food pantries, and farmers’ markets. NIU was also one of the most affordable programs due to the available graduate assistantship opportunities.
What has been your best experience from NIU (so far)?
Thus far, the best experience I have gained from NIU has been my teaching assistantship. Last year, I co-instructed the lab portion of NUTR 309 Science of Nutrition and NUTR 310 Applied Nutrition. We created materials and activities to provide the students with hands-on learning experiences. This experience has allowed me to demonstrate my organization and creativity skills, while also enhancing my public speaking skills. This year I am co-instructing NUTR 201 Human Nutrition, a nutrition class for non-nutrition majors. I am looking forward to working with these students to enhance their knowledge of nutrition and how they can apply it to their various fields.
What has been your best experience outside of NIU?
My best experience outside of NIU occurred just this past summer when I served as the culinary intern for the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Throughout the summer I was able to gain hands-on food service experience in a variety of kitchen settings at a Major League Baseball stadium. Halfway through the summer I was promoted to Culinary Lead of the Northwestern Mutual Legends Club, a luxury 300 person buffet located on the Club Level of Miller Park. I gained experience in menu planning, ordering, receiving, inventory, human resources, sustainability, and so much more. I am continuing my internship until the end of the baseball season, so I am sure I will have more to share throughout the semester.
What are you looking forward to doing within the program over the next year and half?
I am especially excited to do nutrition counseling at the REC Center and a WIC clinic, since sports nutrition and maternal and child health are two of my nutrition interests.
Is there any advice you’d give someone considering a degree in nutrition and dietetics?
Time management is imperative to being successful in a combined MS/DI program. I would recommend keeping an organized planner, highlighting syllabi, and prioritizing your time. Personally, I keep a binder with all of my classes separated by tabs so that I have all of my materials with me at all times if I find a spare moment.
Thank you Jackie.
Jackie is INCREDIBLE! She is such a valuable part of our DI program. She definitely sets the bar high for all of her classmates.
Each of the Dietetic Interns we will be following this year come with a diverse skill set and unique background. Some, like Jackie, have followed a more traditional educational path. Others, like me, are what you’d called “non-traditional” students. In fact, this is a second career for me. Not only am I grad student and Dietetic Intern, but I am also a wife and mother.
You might be wondering how a person with an established career decided to leave it all and return to school to pursue a dream? Find out next week.