Shadowing, interviewing, and counting down

To keep  you updated on the count, today makes 23 days until graduation. It is so funny because I was just reading the entry to my last post about “The Waiting Game” and realized that the very next day I received an interview for a job. That definitely wasn’t my doing. All the glory goes to God, for as soon as I gave up my worries about job searching I was contacted! How awesome! Since then, I have had three AmeriCorps programs contact me about job positions.

I would love to serve for AmeriCorps for a year for many reasons. First, I have felt a need to serve for the past couple of years while at school, which has only been strengthened as I have done my shadow work. Also, the positions I have applied for are outside of Kentucky. This means I could see, live, and be immersed in a new culture and way of living. I would love this! Finally, a year is the perfect time. This summer I plan to take a lot of classes (as much as I can) so that I won’t have to take so much during the year. However, I will still need to take classes in order to apply and get into graduate school programs during the Fall of 2016. Therefore, if things go according to plan, I should be able to work full time, go to school part time, and apply for programs for the Fall! Only time will tell where I will be for the next year. You all will know as soon as I do! To transition this blog post back into “school mode” I will share a few photos from the Kinetic Expressions dance concert that I was in a couple weeks ago! 11083639_10205932601255214_7277163730593602097_n

A photo caught of me during the all cast piece at the very end of the performance! Credit to Shay Smith1908399_10205932572414493_3359644823301987396_n

A colorful display during a piece choreographed by my boyfriend and artist, Zane McKinney. A very funny piece with a lot of dynamic movement and people! Photo credit to Shay Smith.11037482_10205932577894630_1106195154809744355_n

And finally, my beautiful friend, Molly Mezszaros, at the beginning of the piece that I was a part of and that she and another student (Alex Chambers) co-choreographed. Photo credit to Shay Smith.

As exhausting as this week was, it was also a lot of fun and energetic! I have had so many students, professors, and staff at the college tell me what a wonderful performance it was. Many even said that it was the best they have ever seen!! We all definitely put our heart and souls on that stage for three days straight. The journey to Kinetic is also a lot of fun. You get to meet new people and for some students it is their first time dancing. Ever! How awesome to start a lifelong passion for dance by being a part of Kinetic. I hope that some students that were watching find the courage to come to the dance showing next semester to begin their journey of dance and movement.

Since Kinetic has ended though, school life has flooded back in. The very next week I was knocking on doors (actually more like bothering with emails) of professors to ask them to have their classes complete my senior research. I needed 100 questionnaires and I believe that I got them all in one week if not only a few shy. It has been pretty awesome to see hard work paying off and things coming together. However, last night I hit a road block in my research. Yet, it is something I plan to overcome and need to be patient and kind about. (Good reminder for all life events.)

While the events above are moving forward in time (Kinetic –> research), I want to take a moment to return to a shadowing experience I had several weeks ago, before all the crazy dancing and research began. I had the opportunity to shadow Registered Dietitian Alyson Layne at the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department. I met Alyson through a mutual contact (a swing dance friend!). Alyson is a Berea College graduate, having been an independent major so that she could transition into a dietetics program. She took many classes in the Child and Family studies department while a student at Berea. She went on to Eastern Kentucky University to receive her Masters in Community Nutrition.

My experience with Alyson at the health department was quite different from my experience at Baptist Health. Alyson works in the WIC nutrition area of the department, but has recently begun seeing clients for Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT). The MNT at the health department is relatively new but needed greatly by the community. Alyson shared with me her experiences working with families as a WIC nutritionist, a position she never thought she would hold when she was a student at Berea. Since then, she has learned the value of the WIC program and is happy to have the opportunity to provide MNT.

I can see the value of MNT at a health department as providing a service that could otherwise be completely unfeasible to families. Many families who come to the health department for assistance are low socioeconomic status, many of them also minorities. It is difficult to pay for out-patient care if you are in these positions. However, my experience at the health department seemed to show that the nutrition therapy provided there could be affordable to these families.

Since Alyson works in the health department and not a hospital, there was less clinical nutrition involved with her processes. I did still see some of the calculations that Saundra did from Baptist Health for her out-patient clinics, however the MNT was not nearly the same as what Beth Taylor did at Baptist Health. This does not mean it was easier though. Alyson had one client show up while I was there that morning, and the child had some very serious physiological and probably psychological issues regarding his diet. It was difficult to hear about such a young child struggling to eat appropriately, yet encouraging to see a mother and a dietitian working together to make changes. Thinking about it now, I wish I could keep following all the clients I have seen while shadowing to see their progress and how the dietitian keeps counseling them. I guess this is why I just need to become a dietitian myself!

I want to leave you all with a little “sneak-peek” of my ‘Guide for Aspiring Registered Dietitians’. This is the cover page. While I do have some information in the guide, I have not been able to work on it recently nearly as much as I would like. However, it will get done and I am so excited to share the whole thing and keep updating it as things change!

~Lauren

Guide-front-page
The cover page of the guide! This guide covers everything from what an RD is, to how to become one, to advice for aspiring RDs during school beyond coursework. I truly hope it will be helpful for future RDs!

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