DDA Fall Mentorship Event

06 Jan 2016 6:53 PM | Deleted user

Guest post by Carolyn Wahl
MSU Denver Student Representative

Our Fall Mentorship Event was hosted by Johnson & Wales University on December 8th, and featured a panel about dietetic internships! We had a wonderful turnout and gained some important insight into the dietetic internship application process.

On our panel we were honored to have Amy Schwartz, RD, CSP, CNSC (Children’s Hospital Colorado), April M. Rhymaun, MS, RDN, (Metropolitan State University of Denver), Marleen Swanson, MS, RD, MBA (Johnson & Wales University), Michelle A. Harris, MPH, RD (Tri-County Public Health), and Nicole A. Withrow-McDonald, PhD, RD (University of Northern Colorado).

Heather Lujan, MS, RDN, asked our panel some wonderful commonly asked questions. The audience also had a chance to ask some of their own questions. To highlight some of the many questions answered:

  • What type of work experience is preferred?
    Every program is different, so you should refer to each program’s individual websites. However, preference is shown to work in the nutrition field.
  • Does taking some time off from school or after graduation reflect poorly?
    Non-traditional students are very common. If the time off is used to gain more experience in the field, it can even be beneficial. At Children’s Hospital Colorado, two of the current interns were not matched the first time. They used their time after college to improve their résumés, and were then matched with their internship.
  • What are some of the biggest mistakes applicants make?
    Spelling and grammar mistakes are very common, as well as incomplete applications. The personal statement is also where many mistakes are made. This includes being too generic, not answering all prompts, not using examples to support statements, as well as failing to show the applicant’s individuality. For UNC’s distance internship program, another common mistake is failing to provide complete preceptor forms.
  • What makes an outstanding application?
    A strong personal statement, extracurricular activities, and demonstration of leadership skills, to name a few. With respect to GPA, it is also preferred that the applicant has demonstrated improvement over the course of their college career.
  • How do I find preceptors for a distance internship?
    Think outside the box! It is only required that a preceptor be a Registered Dietitian for the clinical rotation. For the other competencies, preceptors can be from a broad range of professions, including food service directors, nurse practitioners, chefs, physician assistants, researchers, social workers, psychologists, etc. However, an application is typically stronger if many of the preceptors are Registered Dietitians.

Thank you to our panel and members for making this event a great success!

Carolyn Wahl
MSU Denver Student Representative    

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