My mother gave me this superpower

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In honor of RDN day, which is a day set aside to celebrate the work of registered dietitians during the month of March, also known as National Nutrition month, I am going to share with you how I stumbled upon this career. I grew up in northern Ohio and for much of my youth I was involved with the 4-H program.  Of all of the activities I participated in, 4-H was by far my favorite.  Therefore, when I was in high school and people started asking about what I wanted to do after high school I started to think of what I enjoyed most.  My mind went to 4-H.  I took cooking projects, sewing projects, and I showed sheep at the county fair.  Of all of those experiences it seemed like the cooking projects were the most likely candidate to lead me to some field of study.

At some point in my process I consulted my mom. She said that she had heard of people being dietitians and she thought that was something I should look into.  She said that she knew they talked with people about what they should eat and thought since I liked to talk and learn about food I should look into it.  My mom encouraged me to talk with the county 4-H agent, who was a dietitian.  I spent some time talking with this person and she told me that at one point she worked in a newborn nursery for premature infants and she was involved in figuring out how many calories they needed to grow.  That really sparked my interest and following that conversation I knew that if I became a dietitian I would work with children.  I later attended Miami University in Oxford, OH to receive my dietetics degree, followed by my clinical internship at Vanderbilt University.  At Vanderbilt they were very interested in helping me gain pediatric experience, therefore, anytime I had an elective rotation I made sure it had something to do with children.  Following my internship I had the honor of completing a pediatric nutrition fellowship at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis.  Following the fellowship, I started my job as clinical dietitian at a children’s hospital.

Looking back over the last 20 years, I am grateful for all of these experiences. I am also grateful for the people that influenced my decisions along the way.  Most of all I am thankful for my mom because she is the one who really got this journey rolling.  I am thankful that she recognized my strengths and weaknesses and had the wisdom to guide me on this path.  My mom is no longer with us; she passed away earlier this month.  I cannot recall if I ever got the chance to thank her.  Therefore, I am thanking her now for encouraging me to be a part of this exciting profession and be a part of RDN day.  Thank you mom…with all of my heart!

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This is my mom and I on the day I moved to Nashville, Tennessee to complete my dietetic internship at Vanderbilt University back in 1997.