In the past several years, enrollments in nutrition and dietetic programs have increased as people recognize the advantages of healthier lifestyles. With the increase in program enrollments, required internships have become even more competitive. Nearly one third of graduates nationwide applying for internships do not receive placements.
Yet, the nine graduating seniors of the nutrition management program at Rochester Institute of Technology are ready to take a healthy bite out of the nutrition/dietetics profession. All members of the 2009 graduating class received placements and will begin post-baccalaureate internship programs this summer.
Internships focus on field practice and entail 1,200 hours of supervised practice in three specialty areas: clinical nutrition, community nutrition and food system management, according to Barbara Cerio, associate professor and nutrition management program chairperson. There are several specialty areas of practice such as sports nutrition and long-term care food management. Internships are required prior to taking the exam to be credentialed as a registered dietitian.
“We are seeing more interest in nutrition and dietetics programs,” says Elizabeth Kmiecinski, associate professor and co-director of the nutrition management program. “The field is growing as more people make career changes, and others pursue health-related occupations. Our students complete coursework as well as three required co-op experiences. The experiences seemed to have been an advantage for the new graduates.”
Suzanne Masters will serve her internship at the University of Buffalo. After her co-op experiences among local Rochester health care organizations, she says she is prepared for the demands of the 1,200-hour internship. “It’s been crazy at times, but it matches my life,” she says with a laugh. “I like being busy and involved.”
Masters, along with classmates Allison LaCarte and Nicole Lemcke, will participate in internships at the University of Buffalo. Other New York state placements include Lisa Dreher, who will intern at Cornell University and Lindsay Kolceski, who begins her service at Syracuse University. Out-of-state placements include Massachusetts General for Jenna DiVincenzo, the University of Maryland Medical Center for Elaine Gilbert, Southern Regional Medical Center in Georgia for Rachel Metzger and the South Carolina Department of Health for Melissa Pratt.