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Dietetics and Nutrition


What is co-op?

Co-op is a full-time paid work experience for at least 400 hours in an industry related to food and nutrition. Students register for co-op just like a class but do not pay tuition. The course is graded as pass/fail. Students are required to complete three co–op experiences to receive their BS degree in Dietetics and Nutrition and the majority complete their co-op experiences in the summer. One co-op must be completed in a healthcare environment. For transfer students possessing at least an associates degree, one co-op may be waived. See Policy Statement for Verification Statement in Dietetics and Nutrition Program Handbook - Appendix D for specific information on requirements for awarding of Verification Statement.

Why co-op?

The RIT co-op program helps to connect students to real world experiences necessary to achieve their career goals and be successful after graduation.

What type of position do I seek?

Co-op positions are learning experiences, not professional RDN positions. Students often complete co-ops with job titles such as Diet Clerk, Nutrition Assistant, Cook, Food Service Worker, Prep Cook/Worker, etc.

Where have students done a co-op?

A sample of common co-op employers in the Rochester area includes: Wegmans, Rochester General Hospital, Strong Memorial Hospital, Highland Hospital, St. John’s Home, RIT Dining Services and Monroe Community Hospital. Many students complete co-ops in their hometown area as well as in other locations throughout the United States and while studying abroad.

How do I find a co-op?

  • Networking with your colleagues (i.e.: fellow nutrition students, especially upperclassmen)
  • JobZone (RIT’s job portal)
  • Emails from co-op advisor regarding opportunities

How can I be certain that a work experience will count as a co-op?

Send the position description to Dietetics and Nutrition program director and co-op placement office advisor for their evaluation.

RIT Resources

RIT’s Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education provides a variety of resource to help students through the co-op process.

  • Resume guidance
  • Cover letters
  • How to use JobZone
  • Mock interviews

Co-op Experiences

Kate Bartleson, Class of 2015
Job Title: Foodservice Association, Rochester Regional Health System, Rochester NY
“The positive experiences at Rochester General Hospital were abundant. Working with patients to create a more comfortable environment was most rewarding. Food was one of the rare things that made them happy. I made several contacts within the nutrition department, which can help me in the future. Getting to know other employees throughout the kitchen and the hospital was great as well.”

Jennifer Everdyke, Class of 2016
Job Title: Dietary Assistant, Gates Chili Central School District, Rochester NY
“I enjoyed learning more about menu planning while combining nutrition into federal guidelines.  I loved the opportunities that I was given to interact with those who took advantage of the free summer meals program as well.”

Christine Mack, Class of 2018
Job Title: Wegmans Bakeshop Manufacturing Plant, Rochester NY
“I have had countless positive experiences related to this work assignment. I established many meaningful relationships and bonds with my co-worker and supervisors all while learning about the manufacturing of food items produced by the most beloved supermarket in the country. Not only have I learned more facts about nutrition and food production, but also of marketing techniques. Working for Wegmans as a nutrition student, especially in an environment where I have met corporate representatives, is an incredible resume booster. This experience has also given me insight on the goals and motives for Wegmans which is a company committed to RIT and its nutrition program. Moreover, I am able to integrate what I have learned through my academics into my employment which is what I think is an essential part of the co-op experience.  Working in this unique environment is a feat that few people get to accomplish and I am extremely grateful to have been given this opportunity. This work assignment is an experience that will continually help me in the future.”

Co-op Contact

Mindy Blake

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