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As the doctor completed a routine physical exam, I am sure he expected me to ask for a

lollipop as most kids do. However, I looked at him intently and asked, “Is my cholesterol level

ok”? As you might expect, he was shocked by the question given that it was coming from a

child. I, however, thought it quite normal and appropriate to inquire about my health. In

retrospect, I have no idea why I would be concerned but it must have been a precursor to my

interests in nutrition and dietetics.

I have lived in North Carolina all my life, so I understand the unique factors that shape

the dietary choices of North Carolinians. Many North Carolinians are categorized as overweight

and obese and diagnosed with co-morbid conditions; conditions that can negatively impact

quality of life. Challenges to maintaining healthy dietary behaviors drive my commitment to

support individuals and families in the Triad Area in proactively addressing physical health

through nutrition. Admission into this program is the first step to the fruition of this goal. The

University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Dietetic Internship Program will provide the

training necessary to practice dietetics that emphasizes nutrition education and community

engagement. Additionally, this program will offer opportunities that promote leadership skill

building which will place me in a position to act as a leader in nutrition and dietetics.

Beyond intelligence, passion and focus, I bring academic, professional and employment

experiences that set me apart from other applicants. Psychological training has afforded me skills

that are transferrable to nutrition education and dietetics including but not limited to building

rapport with diverse populations and practicing professional ethics. Additionally, psychological

training has helped me understand underlying motivations for behaviors and can be used in the

development of nutrition education interventions and motivating clients to modify their dietary

behaviors. I provide many volunteer hours in various community-focused organizations

including Out of the Garden Project and Mustard Seed Community Health. Both provide

different aspects of community nutrition including nutrition education and food security

advocacy. As a manager at a homeless shelter, I created individualized short-term plans based on

interviews and knowledge of community resources. This skill may be beneficial when I analyze

and integrate information to develop nutrition care plans. The academic, professional and

volunteer experiences provide a unique set of hard skills that are an asset in the field of nutrition

and dietetics.

Also, the academic, professional and volunteer experiences have developed soft skills

that complement hard skills necessary to perform as a well-rounded dietitian. My soft skills

include listening which is innate and have been further refined during academic training and the

practice of psychology. Additionally, employment and volunteering in various community

settings have helped me refine my non-verbal communication skills. I am adept at

comprehending non-verbal communication and using culturally-appropriate vocabulary to

effectively convey information to a target audience. I seek out resources to solve convoluted or

novel problems. Most recently, I was given an opportunity to collaborate on a research project

using a methodology to which I had scant knowledge. I sought out evidence-based resources and

expert knowledge to help me better understand the foundational knowledge associated with the

methodology. I truly appreciated this opportunity as it allowed me to enhance my research skills

as well as be an active contributor on the research team. Opportunities to provide nutrition

education has allowed me to educate the community on nutrition and nutrition-related topics

utilizing creative means. I have used nutrition-focused props and role play to educate adults

about probiotics. I employed age-appropriate games to teach preschool aged children about basic

agricultural concepts. I have assisted with the facilitation of community meetings which afforded
the opportunity to develop public speaking skills that have been invaluable. While admittedly, I

have a penchant toward being introverted, I exhibit leadership when a project or task progress is

stalled. Additionally, I took a leadership role while working at a local homeless shelter to help

ensure the shift ran smoothly. I have a positive attitude when receiving feedback. I view it as an

opportunity to improve professionally or personally. These hard and soft skills help set the stage

for my development into a dietitian that provides exemplary dietetic practice.

While exhibiting many strengths that are an asset in the field of nutrition and dietetics, I

possess challenges that can impede my performance. As I mentioned previously, I am innately

introverted which can interfere with my ability to share knowledge and skills. However, I take

advantage of opportunities that require public speaking in the community and volunteer

experiences. For example, as a volunteer at the Women’s Resource Center, I provide tours of the

facility for small groups or introduce available services and programs to community members.

When I worked on a health education research project, I accepted the opportunity to serve as a

meeting facilitator. Since beginning the graduate nutrition program, I struggle finding work-life

balance and tend to put more time and effort into academic and professional activities which has

negatively affected my physical health. This semester I have made more of an effort to practice

self-care to improve my work-life balance. I do not view the areas of improvement as a character

default but as challenges to improve upon.

My short-term goals include completion of the doctoral program in nutrition and the

dietetics internship program at UNCG. Additionally, I would like to implement community-

focused nutrition programs in non-profit organizations for underserved and minority populations

while completing the dietetics internship program. Upon graduation from the dietetics internship

program, I will practice obesity/weight management in a clinical-community or community

setting in the Triad Area. Also, I would like to serve in a leadership role in the Academy of

Nutrition and Dietetics in obesity/weight management and/or disordered eating. As I continue to

refine my dietetic career goals through work and volunteer experiences, I look forward to

learning more about the field of nutrition and dietetics and the role I will play as a dietitian.