Senior Spotlight: Q&A with nutrition majors who landed internships

Applying for a dietetic internship is a highly competitive process. However, two Chico State students received a match.

In the past four years, the national match rate has been 50 percent because of the shortage of available internship spots.

The general dietetics option from Chico State is approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as an accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics. After the program requirements are completed, students need to apply for and be accepted into a dietetic internship program to complete the supervised practical experience required to be a registered dietitian.

The Orion sat down with fall 2014 graduate Caitlyn Albright and senior Julie Ann Van Buskirk, who are both nutrition and food science majors with an option in general dietetics. They described their dietetic internship placements, and why they chose to pursue dietetics.

Caitlyn Albright, a senior nutrition and food science major, will be attending Prairie View A & M in Texas for her dietary internship program. Photo credit: Nicole Santos

Why did you choose dietetics?

Albright: I took a certified nursing assistant class and realized it was not the career path for me. During the course, I followed the dietitian around and was fascinated by her job. I looked more into the career path of becoming a registered dietitian and fell in love. Around the same time of switching my majors, my dad had a mild heart attack. It was difficult, but I went with him to see a dietitian and felt my career choice was solidified. It amazed me how a simple change of diet could have prevented his heart attack, and how his new diet can help prevent future heart problems.

Van Buskirk: I chose dietetics because I was really interested in how the human body worked. And because I love food.

Which dietetic internship program did you get accepted into?

Albright: Prairie View A & M in Texas.

Van Buskirk: East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.

Julie Ann Van Buskirk, a senior nutrition and food science major, will be attending East Carolina University in North Carolina for her dietary internship program. Photo credit: Nicole Santos

What made you choose to apply to the place where you were accepted?

Albright: I applied to places with an emphasis in food service because I have more experience in the food industry, and my long-term career goal is to become a food service manager at a hospital or school district.

Van Buskirk: A day or two before I submitted my applications, I was comparing internship lists with a friend, and this internship caught my eye because of the rural health emphasis. I grew up in a fairly small town and thought I could relate.

What are you most excited for in terms of your placement and the location?

Albright: I have actually never left California before so I am extremely excited to experience a new culture. The internship I got accepted to is 86 percent African-American, and it sounds funny, but I am excited to experience being a minority. I grew up in an area that was not very culturally diverse, and I think leaving California is going to be an amazing learning experience for me.

Van Buskirk: I am really excited for the opportunity to live on the East Coast. My brother and I are going to road trip out there in August and see all the sights along the way. Moving across the country gives me a great reason to travel around the eastern United States.

What’s the emphasis of your program and why did you choose that particular one?

Albright: School food service management. Considering I am not a competitive applicant in terms of total GPA and internships, I had to focus on what aspects of the field I do have experience in.

Van Buskirk: It is a rural health emphasis. Since I grew up in a small town that was pretty far from anything — 20 minutes to get groceries or do errands — I thought that I could relate to the emphasis.

What was the most stressful part of the application process?

Albright: I think there were two incredibly stressful parts. The first difficult part was going through and deciding which internships to apply to. There are many factors to consider, and it was difficult and time-consuming to narrow down the choices, especially while still focusing on my last semester of college. I think the most stressful part was making sure everything was completed for every internship I was applying for.

Van Buskirk: After it was all said and done, match day was the most stressful of it all. The way the program works is you pre-rank the internships you want and hopefully those programs rank you. Somehow it filters it all out and on match day, you get one match or no match. I put off checking my results for almost two hours. I was too nervous.

Nicole Santos can be reached at [email protected] or @Iam_NicoleS on Twitter.