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Attending FNCE


“Each fall, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sponsors the world’s largest meeting of food and nutrition experts — more than 10,000 registered dietitians, nutrition science researchers, policy makers, health-care providers and industry leaders attend the annual meeting — and address key issues affecting the health of all Americans. The annual Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) features more than 100 research and educational presentations, lectures, debates, panel discussions and culinary demonstrations. More than 400 exhibitors from corporations, government and nonprofit agencies showcase new consumer food products and nutrition education materials.”

That is how the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics describes FNCE (said fence-see).  This year’s FNCE was in Houston, Texas.  It is a great opportunity to network and attend educational sessions.  The expo is always fun with lots of exhibits and plenty of samples.   FNCE moves around the country and is held in places like Boston, San Diego, Atlanta, Houston, San Antonio and others that have large convention centers.  Next year (2014) FNCE is in Atlanta and it is in Boston the following year (2015).

Plan on attending a FNCE.  You won’t be disappointed!



Musings About Graduate School

Are you thinking about going on for a masters degree or a doctorate degree? If you haven’t given it much thought, you should.  The sooner you start planning and preparing for graduate school the better.   Yes, even first year undergraduates should have an eye towards graduate school.

However, it is important to understand that the graduate school experience is very different from the undergraduate experience.  Too often undergraduates make the mistake of thinking that graduate school is just more of the same they are going through now.  They couldn’t be more wrong.

So, how is graduate school different? For one thing, graduate students have a different relationship with their faculty.  Graduate students are closer to being colleagues with their faculty.   They are older, more mature, and more self-directed.   They help faculty teach their courses and they help them with their research.

In graduate school students don’t spend all their time sitting in classes.  Generally, they take fewer course credits per semester, 6-9 credit hours, instead of the typical 16 credit hour load of undergraduates.  That is because graduate school is more focused on depth of knowledge than breadth of knowledge.  Graduate school is about specializing in a particular field of study so a graduate student’s coursework is much more focused and scholarly.

The graduate experience is a wonderful, life and career changing experience.  It is demanding but exciting.

You should plan on going!

I will be posting on picking a graduate program.

Here we go again!

I just love the start of a new semester.   It is kind of like a do over.  Another chance to show what you can really do.   Hopefully, we all learned from our mistakes last semester and we are better for it.   Here are some common mistakes made by students:

  1. Procrastination (Putting off until tomorrow what you can (should) do today)
  2. Reading textbooks and not studying textbooks
  3. Not seeking help!
  4. Not asking questions
  5. Thinking that busy-ness equals learning
  6. Not adjusting to poor outcomes (keep doing the same thing over and over again even though it isn’t working)
  7. Poor time management skills
  8. Not getting and staying organized
  9. Thinking that grades are earned for working hard

Here are some solutions for the above

  1. Getting working on class assignments as soon as possible rather than as late as possible
  2. Become a studying fool!  Study, study, study and then study some more
  3. Seek help when you don’t understand something.  Reach out!  Needing help doesn’t mean you are stupid.  Stupid is not seeking help when you need it?
  4. Ask questions.  Not just for the sake of asking questions but when you don’t understand something, when you are confused, when you don’t get it……seek answers by asking questions.
  5. Just because you are busy doesn’t mean you are getting anything meaningful accomplished.  It isn’t so much about staying busy but staying effective.  Work smarter not harder.   Time spent dealing with the frivolous is time stolen away from the substantial things that really mean something.  Learn to distinguish between the two and then focus on the latter.
  6. If you are not getting the result you desire then adjust what you are doing.  What worked in high school often doesn’t work in college.  What works in one class doesn’t work in another.  What works with one professor isn’t what works with another.
  7. Time is your more precious commodity.  Manage it well and it is your friend.  Mismanage it and it works against you.
  8. Get organized.  Nuff said!
  9. This is college.  Grades are earned based on work product and not work load!  You can spend 100 hours on a term paper but if it is D quality then it is going to earn a D grade.

I hope this inspires you to purpose to do better this semester.  If you want to meet with me to be inspired or get a swift kick in the proverbial pants then I am more than happy to do that.


Alternative to Traditional Dietetic Internships

Any student majoring in Dietetics understands they need to complete an accredited post-graduate dietetic internship after they complete their undergraduate degree.  They also know that getting into a dietetic internship is very competitive.   In case you don’t know there were 4000 applications for 2000 dietetic internship positions last year!  That calculates out to a 50% chance of getting into an DI.

Well, the American Dietetic Association (soon to be the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) has established an alternative to the traditional dietetic internship called Individualized Supervised-Practice Pathways or ISPPs.  Read more about ISSPs at

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Students

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, first published in 1989, is a self-help book written by Stephen R. Covey. It has sold over 15 million copies in 38 languages since first publication, which was marked by the release of a 15th anniversary edition in 2004. Covey presents an approach to being effective in attaining goals by aligning oneself to what he calls “true north” principles of a character ethic that he presents as universal and timeless.  (Wikipedia)

The seven habits of highly effective students would relate very closely to Covey’s list.  Read them over and see what you think.

Covey’s Habit 1: Be Proactive

Synopsis: Taking initiative in life by realizing your decisions (and how they align with life’s principles) are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Taking responsibility for your choices and the subsequent consequences that follow.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

Synopsis: Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life.

Habit 3: Put First Things First

Synopsis: Planning, prioritizing, and executing your week’s tasks based on importance rather than urgency. Evaluating if your efforts exemplify your desired character values, propel you towards goals, and enrich the roles and relationships elaborated in Habit 2.

The next three have to do with Interdependence (i.e. working with others)

Habit 4: Think Win-Win

Synopsis: Genuinely striving for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Valuing and respecting people by understanding a “win” for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had gotten his way.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to be understood

Synopsis: Using empathetic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, respect, and positive problem solving.

Habit 6: Synergize

Synopsis: Combining the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone. How to yield the most prolific performance out of a group of people through encouraging meaningful contribution, and modeling inspirational and supportive leadership.

The Last habit relates to self-rejuvenation;

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Synopsis: The balancing and renewal of your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable long-term effective lifestyle.

The Importance of Clinical Experience for Getting Into an Internship: Helpful, yes. Absolutely Necessary, no

Hi everyone.  There seems to be some confusion about the importance of undergraduate dietetic students getting clinical experience before they apply to a dietetic internship program.  Some students are under the impression that having clinical experience is required to get into a dietetic internship.  That isn’t the case.  No question, clinical experience is a very desirable thing to have but not a necessary thing to have.   Although Internship Selection Committees place a lot value on applicants having experience in a clinical setting, they understand that isn’t always possible or reasonable based on access to such experiences.   Consequently, there are other ways in which students can demonstrate they have what it takes to thrive in a dietetic internship.  For example, working or interning in any professional environment including a bank. lawyers office, politician’s office can provide a wonderful learning opportunity.  Another is getting involved in undergraduate research projects and presenting findings at local, state, or national conferences.   The bottom line is get clinical experience if you can.  If you can’t, get experience in another type of professional environment.  If you can’t do that, then volunteer or work in any environment that focuses on health and diet such as a summer camp for kids with diabetes.    In the end, whether you get into a dietetic internship or not will hinge primarily on your GPA, numerous and varied extracurricular experiences, and the strength of recommendations from nutrition and other health professionals.  Be of good cheer!

What are you going to do over breaks?

A break has finally arrived!  Not a minute too soon.  Some will use it to relax and recuperate from the first few weeks of the semester.  Some will use it to get work done on class projects and assignments.  Some will use it to study, clean up their notes, and get organized.  Others will use it to get community service and professional service hours logged in.   Finally, some will maximize their time and do all of those things.  The questions is “What are you going to do?”  Here are my suggestions:

  1. Take time to relax and have some fun.  It will rejuvenate you for the next part of the semester.  Get plenty of rest. You will be more energized and you will get better results when you return to classes.
  2. Take time to work on class assignments and to study.  You will come back feeling less overwhelmed and more prepared. 
  3. Take time to get organized.   The feeling of being on top of things is priceless.
  4. Spend a day doing community service or getting professional experience hours logged in.   Breaks are a great time to network with RDs and other professionals and community leaders.  Help out at your old High School or grade school.  Volunteer at the local library or hospital.  You will be glad you did!

Whatever you do have a great break.  Be safe. Be productive. Be impressive.  And of course….be healthy!