Friday, October 30, 2015

Food Day at University of Maryland College Park: Supporting Campus Efforts at Sustanability

On Friday October 23, 2015 NFSC Dietetic Internship gathered to assist campus dining services in promoting sustainability in honor of National Food Day this year.

The interns assisted the campus dining sustainability team in urging UMCP students to use "recyclable" take out containers and learn more about campus sustainability efforts.   Visit UMCP Campus Dining Services to learn the many sustainability efforts taking place on campus. 

Interns also served samples of food items being served in the cafeteria -- Marinated Mushroom Sandwich and a less meaty pasta dish.  In the evening for supper dining services served grilled blue catfish.

The event served to enhance intern knowledge about Maryland food-based sustainability issues, gain a great understanding of college student food preferences, and have a great time!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Experience It: Food and Friends Joint Class Day

I am currently at my information technology rotation in my internship. This part of the rotation is held at IFIC (International Food Information Council). For our first Joint Class day, myself and three of my fellow dietetic interns went to Food and Friends. I had never heard of this organization before coming to my dietetic internship and from what I heard during my internship, I thought it was just a food bank. However, it is more than just your typical ‘food bank’. It distributes specified diet order friendly meals to the DC area. From soft puree to heart healthy, Food and Friends has it. This is a great service and I was happy to learn more about it.

At this great location gathered dietetic interns from two other programs with ours (University of Maryland- Medical Center, & Virginia Tech). Each program was diverse and brilliant in their own right. I met people from both and discovered another side to dietetic internships I hadn’t been exposed to before. I learned that the two dietetic internships had different concentrations -- Virginia Tech’s was leadership while University of Maryland-Medical Center’s was clinical. They had two perspectives that were valuable resources.

After the introductions for the day, we were divided into two groups. My group volunteered in the kitchen first where we put the meals into bags to go out for distribution. Food and Friends had a color coded system for their diet items. There was heart healthy, no fish, vegetarian, diabetic, and soft; just to name a few. They also provided numerous combinations of diets, which was a really nice service. During this time, I was able to learn a lot about the other programs. After we were done packing all the food away, we put stickers on bags and helped them put away the supplies.

We broke for lunch after a small budgeting exercise where we networked with other interns. We had a workshop on strength based leadership which brought a lot of positive response from me. I love psychology and often think about the mindset behind our food choices. This was along the same lines on how to be the best leader you could be with your skill sets. Some dietetic interns were more analytic than creative or more organized than communicative. These qualities do not make you a bad leader, it makes you a different type of leader and that is okay. I concluded that I may be a dietetic intern with an unconventional background but my skill sets are needed in my dietetic internship. I bring something to the table that no one else will.

Our group sat through three lectures, each of them interesting. The first was a lecture on nutrition and HIV which was incredibly informative about the prevalence of the virus in the Washington DC area. There was a motivational interview section where we got to see the different perspectives of the dietetic interns since they tend to focus on different things during their interviews. Some interviews were clinical while others focused in on the emotional well-being of the client. The final topic was food justice and poverty in the DC area. This was eye-opening and shocking since many wards are food deserts. I hope that my contribution to the DC community through Food and Friends has helped make change.

After that, there were some closing remarks and then we were released into the world again equipped with new knowledge. Overall, it was a fun class day where I made new friends and learned many things that I could use for my future as an RD. I am looking forward to the next joint class day!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Maryland Dietitians in Health Care Communities (MD-DHCC): Dietetic Interns Filling Professional Roles in Fall Workshop

MD-DHCC Fall meeting attracted 175 attendees and vendors to its annual fall workshop.  Speakers included information on informatics in long term care, promoting hydration and fiber, PES statements in long term care, and many more!  NFSC dietetic interns worked with Howard University interns in a variety of roles.

Intern Professional Roles:

  • Parking lot direction
  • Greeting at the door
  • Registration
  • Introducing speakers
  • Vendor set up
  • 50/50 event
  • Door prize giveaway selection
  • Assist Concierge speaker with
    table materials distribution 

Feedback from attendees regarding intern participation was positive.  Interns reports several attendees reminded them there are jobs in long term care in Maryland and to consider that as they get ready to graduate.  The interns combined their raffle tickets as one large team and won a prize.
The interns had a great day of learning lots of new information on long term care, enjoyed great food, and had a great time!

Attendees at the MD DHCC fall workshop

Attendees at the MD DHCC fall workshop

Posted on behalf of  Dottie Dietitian

Monday, October 19, 2015

Intern Adventures: Terp Farm Harvest Festival

Post written by Meredith Dillon, Dietetic Intern

Though a dietetic internship is hard work and it's not all fun and games, the interns here at College Park get more than our fair share of fun experiences! 

A few Fridays ago we had the privilege to help out at the Inaugural Terp Farm Harvest Festival put on by the Department of Dining Services at UMD College Park and we had a blast!

Flyer from the Event

The Harvest Festival was held at the Terp Farm which is a sustainable farming operation owned by the University of Maryland.  The Terp Farm helps the College Park community in many ways:

  • Environmentally: The Terp Farm sustainably grows crops such as peppers, tomatoes, herbs, lettuce, and squash while using organic pest controls, composting, and practicing other sustainable farming methods.
  • Economically: The Terp Farm sells crops to the University of Maryland Dining Services and can be found in the food on various parts of the College Park Campus.
  • Socially: A portion of every Terp Farm harvest goes to those in need.
To see where this information came from and to find out more you can visit the Terp Farm's Website!

The Harvest Festival was a way for UMD students to see all of the great things the Terp Farm has to offer. Transportation via shuttle bus was provided from campus and hundreds of students came to celebrate the harvest!  Students could learn about the farm through tours that were offered periodically throughout the afternoon.  It was a great way for students to become aware of where some of their on campus food comes from, what sustainable farming means, and why it is important.

Along with the tours, there were many other fall festivities like pumpkin decorating, music, and food! The food came from a UMD food truck called Green Tidings that buys its produce from local farmers including the Terp Farm!  The food was delicious and the menu included a lamb sandwich, a ratatouille sandwich and apple cider!

UMD's Green Tidings Food Truck

The UMD interns got to help with things like directing parking, facilitating pumpkin decorating, and helping organize the food!  We all love an opportunity to represent our internship and help out Dining Services, and the free volunteer t-shirt didn't hurt either!

Note to future interns: Though it was easy to be happy at the Fall Harvest Festival, it is important to always be polite, happy, and professional at events like these where you are representing the internship.  Our director always says the internship is kind of like a "10-month job interview" and you always want to put your best foot forward.  Usually the events we go to are great experiences and really fun anyway!

Myself and some fellow interns getting ready to help at the Harvest Festival

Some fellow interns relaxing after volunteering

Myself and all of the interns extend a big thank you to the Terp Farm and Dining Services for inviting us to help and giving us the opportunity to end our class day in such a beautiful setting and at such a fun event!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Fashion Forward: Dressing for Success, The Dietetic Intern Way

           It is already week 7 of my rotations, and it feels like I started the program yesterday. Man, does time fly! I just completed my 5 week rotation at USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP).  I enjoyed my time at CNPP working with Registered Dietitians, and other health professionals who are behind the scenes of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, ChooseMyPlate and SuperTracker just to name a few. CNPP’s mission is to improve the health of Americans by advancing and promoting food and nutrition guidance for all Americans, assessing diet quality, and advancing consumer, nutrition, and food economic knowledge. I have strengthened so many skills through numerous projects and tasks, which has been valuable. I can't wait to use these skills in many rotations to come.  A big thank you to my preceptors and the entire CNPP Office of Nutrition Marketing and Communications team for making this rotation worthwhile!

            This week I started my rotation at the International Food Information Council (IFIC) in DC, a non-profit organization which is dedicated to the mission of effectively communicating science-based information on health, nutrition and food safety for the public good. I look forward to expanding my knowledge in nutrition informatics and research, as well as networking with many nutrition professionals in this rotation, wish me luck!

               Apart from my dietetic internship experiences so far, one thing I find very important is appearance. In undergrad, the dress code wasn’t business casual, it was pretty much “wear whatever you feel like wearing”. In my Junior and Senior year of college, I started to purchase professional clothes, so that transitioning to the real world wouldn’t be such a pain. Most rotations in the Internship will require a “business casual” dress code. As an intern representing the University of Maryland, it is very important to dress professional when asked to because it affects how others perceive you and the program itself. If your clothes are clean, neat, and professional, it shows that you are confident in your abilities, and also makes you feel confident. Before every rotation, make sure to check the facilities dress policy before the start date. When in doubt, ask!

                   Here are some things I keep in mind when dressing up for my rotations... from top, to bottom:

1.     Hair: Always keep hair clean. In clinical or food service management rotations, be sure to keep it away from the patient’s food (Wear hair nets, put hair in ponytail or bun).

2.     Jewelry: Wear little to no jewelry- keep it to a minimum (studs, a bracelet, small necklace).

3.     Tops: Select blouses, collared shirts, cardigans, button downs and camisoles with cardigans or blazers, and sweaters. 

My Internship partner Kelda, is wearing a crème blouse with a grey pencil skirt & a black cardigan.
4.     Bottoms: Choose skirts that are no more than 2" above the knee, slacks and nice dress pants.

Me, wearing a white button down shirt, with a black & grey stripped skirt, and nude & black 2" heels; holding a Tommy Hilfiger bag.
5.     Dresses: Shop for business dresses that are no more than 2” above the knee.

6.     Suits: Wear pant suits or skirt suits.

7.     Nylons: Search for pantyhose or tights that match your skin tone.

8.     Shoes: When shopping select comfortable flats, heels that are no more than 2" high,  or knee length dress boots with heels no more 2".   

Me, ready to take on my IFIC rotation in DC wearing my Charming Charlie bracelet & Steve Madden nude & black heels.

9.     Lab coats: Keep lab coats clean, white, and wrinkle-free for clinicals, and other rotations when appropriate.

10.  Perfumes: Many people have fragrance sensitivity. Reduce the use of strong scented perfumes.

Here are some stores to find professional clothes: Thrift Stores, Target, Nordstrom, Gap, Ross, Macy’s, J. Crew, Forever 21, H&M, Old Navy, Kohls.

             Appearance is key! You don't need to go shopping for a new wardrobe. Just mix and match your clothes, and you will be fine. Stick to neutral colors or dark colors such as navy blue, grey and black. Boost your confidence levels in your rotations by dressing for success. When you look good, you feel good! Remember, someone is always watching you. Happy Fall :)

         To keep up to date with my Internship experiences check out these accounts:

Twitter: @ValerieAgyeman
Electronic Portfolio Website:

University of Maryland, College Park Dietetic Internship twitter account: @UMD_DietIntern