As I start the dietetics program in August, I thought it would be appropriate to write about the “why” behind my choice to go into this field! Oftentimes when I tell people I am a dietetics major, they are confused or uncertain what that entails. Explaining some reasons for choosing dietetics may clear up some of that uncertainty and hopefully inspire others to consider choosing nutrition as a career!
Since middle school, I knew I wanted to go into healthcare. At first I thought I wanted to be a dermatologist, but soon realized medical school was not the path for me. The summer before my senior year of high school, I was dead-set on physical therapy and got a job as an outpatient therapy aide, which had me cleaning and stocking equipment at a clinic here in Columbia. But being exposed to therapists and what they did on a daily basis caused me to change my mind. I realized I did not want as much direct patient contact. During senior year I became interested in nutrition and started looking into options. I had originally thought I wanted to be both a physical therapist and a dietitian (oh, my naïve high school mind!). Once I learned about Mizzou’s Coordinated Program in Dietetics, I realized that becoming a dietitian was more demanding than I expected, causing me to focus on earning one degree instead of two. When I found out I could get my bachelor’s and master’s degree in 5 years, I was hooked! I applied to Mizzou and the rest is history.
Now that you know a little bit more of my background, let’s talk about some of the reasons dietetics stuck out to me. As someone who wants to work in healthcare but doesn’t love some of the icky parts that can come with, I struggled to find options where I could have interpersonal patient contact while keeping physical contact to a minimum. In dietetics, I could work in a hospital environment with critically ill patients while also catering to my more office-minded side. A second reason for my interest in this career is the flexibility. Dietitians can work anywhere (think schools, grocery stores, hospitals, nursing homes, private practice, etc) and have the ability to be salaried or hourly workers. I could easily work part-time hours when I have a family. Lastly, I take a strong interest in dietetics because I find the science of nutrition fascinating, as well as the effect food has on our physical and mental health. As a dancer and a Jazzercise instructor, I know that I perform better when I am fueling myself well, and I want to help others find a balance that works similarly for them.
I am ecstatic to be starting the dietetics program this August, and can’t wait to graduate in a few years and start practicing as a registered dietitian. If you are interested in nutrition and want to make it a career, I highly encourage you to look into dietetics. Nutrition is still a young science, and we are learning more about it every single day. I look forward to being a part of that growth in knowledge, and who knows, maybe even spearheading advances in nutrition science someday!
Hello everyone! I hope you have all been enjoying your summer and spending time doing the things you love. This blog post will be slightly unconventional as I will be focusing less on the topic of nutrition and more on sharing with you all how my experience competing at the Miss Missouri competition was!
As many of you know already, this blog was born in January of 2020 as I was competing to win a local title that would qualify me to compete at the state competition for Miss Missouri. My social impact initiative, Healthy Nutrition for a Stronger Generation, is the name of this blog site and what I have spent time developing and promoting since the beginning of my Miss Missouri journey!
On June 13th, I arrived at the Missouri Military Academy to stay in the dorms and experience one roller coaster of a week! The candidates competing had rehearsals all day Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, and our first night of preliminary competition was Wednesday. The week was filled with luncheons, cocktail parties, learning opening/closing numbers, and of course the actual shows themselves! After all of the preparation I have put in over the past year and a half, I can confidently say that I showed the judges every piece of my personality and my mission to highlight the importance of nutrition shined through in each phase of competition.
After competing in private interview, evening gown, talent, and social impact initiative pitch/onstage question, I am proud to say I was called in the Top Ten contestants, earning me a $1500 scholarship and memories that will last a lifetime. Through this organization, I have learned the life skills of professionalism, public speaking, and stage presence that I will carry with me forever. I also gained some unique friendships that I look forward to maintaining for years to come! I have included the social impact initiative pitch I gave onstage below, which I feel is a great summary of my goal to educate others about nutrition through this experience:
"The new American Heart Association guidelines call for less than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day for children aged 2-18. But the average teenager consumes more than 28 teaspoons of added sugar every single day! One bottle of ketchup is 25% sugar, and no, that doesn’t count towards your child’s daily allowance of vegetables. As a dietetics student with a strong passion for nutrition, I am excited to educate others on what a proper plate of food looks like. Youth of today need to know what a healthy diet consists of, and childhood nutrition needs to be revamped with better choices. Join me in advocating for healthy nutrition for a stronger generation!”
To conclude, I want to say this: if you are considering stepping out of your comfort zone to have an opportunity to grow and build on important skills-do it! I am so glad I took that step with the Miss Missouri Organization, and I look forward to carrying what I have learned into my future career as a dietitian. And of course, if you are thinking about competing for Miss Missouri, please reach out! I would love to talk to you about it and share my tips and tricks for success! As for this blog, I will continue writing about nutrition topics that are close to my heart, but this time without the crown!
Thank you for joining me on my journey!
-Ashley Voeller; Miss St. Charles County 2020/2021