As a transfer student at Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions, I must admit that Nutrition and Food Science was not my first love. I began my college career at Bucks County Community College, and I spent three years working full-time as an apprentice in bakeries, while completing the required courses for the Culinary Arts: Pastry Emphasis program. Toward the end of the program, I began considering schools to transfer to. I learned so much about the business of baking on-the-job and in my classes, but I didn’t want to continue on in another culinary program. During my last year at Bucks, I became very interested in baking for special diets, and even more interested in the science of food and nutrition. My transfer options were slim as just a few colleges within a decent commuting distance offered a nutrition program. I chose Drexel University partly because I wanted the co-op experience, partly because I really liked the campus, and partly because my father is an alumnus.
As I am reaching the last year of the Nutrition and Food Science Program, I am beginning my search for a relevant Master’s Program. After I graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science in the summer of 2014, I will have taken the didactic courses required for eligibility to become a dietetic intern. A dietetic internship requires 1,200 hours of supervised practice under a registered dietitian, and must be completed before taking the exam to become a registered dietitian. I hope to complete the internship while earning a Master’s degree in secondary education.
Why would I want to become a teacher after 6 years of culinary and nutrition schooling? Theoretically, dietitians are, in part, nutrition educators. Any field of nutrition that a registered dietitian can work in requires some sort of nutrition education. Some popular paths that dietitians follow include, but are not limited to, working in hospitals, clinics, school districts, and nursing homes, and can also include nutrition research, policy-making, and private or government organizations. Any of these areas would provide an exciting and rewarding career, but my goal is to teach nutrition and food science in secondary public schools.
My high school years weren’t too long ago, and I recall vivid memories of the meals that the lunchroom offered. Of course, we had gym once-per-day for half of the year, but the gym teachers wouldn’t touch the subject of nutrition education; they handed the job off to the posters in the lunchroom that advertised fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The issue of school lunch programs is mostly dependent upon funding and the affordability food. Policy making, in this area, would be a rewarding career for a dietitian, but not for me. I want to be in the classrooms teaching students the fundamentals of food science and nutrition so that they can begin to make educated decisions in the lunchroom at a young age; an age when creating healthy habits can influence their health for the rest of their lives. My high school offered a “Basic Foods” cooking class, which may have initiated my love for baking, food science, and nutrition. I would love to give back to my school and help students make healthy, informed decisions about the foods that are offered to them in the lunchroom, but also at home. Nutrition educations can certainly be something that students can take home and teach their families what they learned in school that day.
There are so many opportunities in so many different industries for someone with a degree in Nutrition and Food Science, and even more opportunities for a registered dietitian. With my culinary background, nutrition and food science knowledge, and future RD and MSEd credentials, I hope to change the lives of young people by teaching them about the science of food and nutrition; information that can greatly benefit them and their families later on in life. I hope that my role in adolescent nutrition education will lessen the load for oncologists and other healthcare professionals in the future.
About the author
Christine Luby is a junior in the Nutrition and Food Science program at Drexel University. Before transferring to Drexel, she graduated from Bucks County Community College with an Associates degree in Culinary Arts: Pastry Emphasis. She will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in the summer of 2014. After graduation, she plans to work on a Masters degree in Education, while completing a dietetic internship. She is interested in food science, food service, and nutrition education, and would like to implement nutrition education classes in a local school district. She hopes to combine her knowledge in nutrition, culinary art, food science, and education to develop a school program that teaches nutrition fundamentals inside the classroom and prepares students to make healthy choices in school and at home.