Tag Archives: DC

Blogging with the Experts- IFIC

Downtown DC

In the heart of Washington, DC

Now that I’m back from break, I’ve launched into a new, three-week rotation.  It’s with the International Food Information Council (IFIC), located in downtown Washington, DC.  The 16 metro stops I must endure on the orange line during rush hour are a little much, but it’s definitely cool to be here!

My past experience working for the Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC) is coming in handy with several of the things they do here.  Also, I’m sure if you’ve read my blog before that I have a personal interest in social media (Twitter, Linked In) and writing (hello, Mission: Dietitian).  IFIC incorporates a lot of that with their own articles, publications, social media, and blog entries at their website, Food Insight.  IFIC communicates the latest information about nutrition and food safety not only to consumers in the general public, but also stakeholders, professionals, educators, and more.

So far my partner and I have written a short article and a blog entry about ways to keep your New Years resolutions (I’ll be posting the link when it goes up).  This was a particularly meeting-heavy week, so we’ve had the opportunity to sit in on several that discussed their plans for the upcoming year.  We were also fortunate to learn more about the issue of food colors and hyperactivity–IFIC has a great Q&A on this controversial topic.

This is a great example of a rotation that sets the University of Maryland College Park Dietetic Internship apart from other internship programs, and I’m glad I can take advantage of it!

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Mi Futuro en Nutrición

Happy New Year! I hope everyone has had a good start to 2011.  Have you made any good resolutions?

My Fiance and IWith the New Year comes big news for me. On a personal note, I just became engaged! Ordinarily, this would be all fine and well, but this commitment will have a significant impact on my career. You see, my fiancé is in the Army and will be moving to El Paso, TX, in March. Therefore, I will be joining him once I graduate from my dietetic internship (University of Maryland, College Park) at the end of June. I assume that after a few years we will have to move to another place, as well. Luckily I grew up in a military home (Coast Guard, baby) so it won’t be totally new. Plus I will get the opportunity to experience different jobs in dietetics and see how the profession differs in various geographic regions in the United States.

El Paso

My Future Home in far West Texas...no, not Juarez!

I love the DC-metro area and all it offers to young professionals. Maybe someday I will be able to return to Maryland! However, I looked into the El Paso area a bit and it seems like a pretty large city with several hospitals, including a VA- I had the fortune of spending time at the Baltimore VA earlier in my internship- see here and here. Also, with it’s extremely close proximity to Mexico (Ciudad Juarez just over a fence) there is a large Mexican/Hispanic population as well. I better start recalling my three years of high school Spanish…or maybe ask for Rosetta Stone for graduation!  I am excited to see what the future holds.

Not Your Average Internship

Match for Internship

The Greatest Relief EVER!

For those of you not in the field of nutrition, you may be wondering why I am blogging about a silly little internship.  So I can share stories of getting coffee for the boss? Doing menial tasks to assist the real workers? Silently suffering at the bottom of the ladder in the hope of one day being hired?

While I’m sure that would be a thrilling blog to read, this is NOT that kind of internship.  Instead, I like to think of it as nursing school, but for dietitians.  A college degree is required, and completion of an internship is necessary to obtain the coveted “RD” (Registered Dietitian) credentials behind my name so I can get a job.  It’s sort of a graduate program that you pay for, but you don’t earn graduate credit.  Basically, I am in career limbo.

My dietetic internship has a ton of different rotations and sites that I will be blogging about.  For example, I’ll be working at a local hospital for my clinical rotation, Riderwood Village and UMD Dining Services for my foodservice rotations, Food & Friends and School Lunch for my community rotations, and IFIC (International Food Information Center) and CNPP (Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion) for my information technology rotations.  My internship director explained this process as “A 10.5 month job interview.” All the rotations will definitely help me pinpoint where I would like to go in my career, and who knows, maybe a job will come out of it as well!

Getting here wasn’t necessarily simple.  For each internship I applied to, I had to write a slightly different essay, fill out lengthy forms, and solicit three letters of recommendation from my work supervisors and professors.  The various internships I applied to had different requirements and different due dates; this caused me many afternoons of stressing out at the post office, triple-checking to make sure I had everything in order for an overnight, traceable delivery (I couldn’t risk my applications getting lost in the mail!)

After that, there was a long period of waiting: first for an invitation for an interview, and eventually for match day.  Match day was the day that we found out 1) If we got an internship 2) which one we got.  No, we weren’t offered admission from different programs and then got to choose; instead, we had to rank the internships, they ranked us, and we were matched by a computer system.  Sound stressful? It was.  Of course, the <50% acceptance rate to dietetic internships didn’t help with the anxiety.

Fortunately, on that fateful day, I was matched to the UMD internship, and here I am!  I loved the variety of rotations within the program and its focus on nutrition communications and information technology.  I could not be more excited to get started!  First up: clinical rotations!