Lai Yeng Chung is currently in the Dietetic Internship with Master of Science in Nutrition program at the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions.
I have always been interested in nutrition since my undergraduate study but at that time, I did not think of becoming a Registered Dietitian (RD). I chose to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition which is not a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD). That decision made me ineligible to apply to any dietetic internship program unless I took additional nutrition courses to meet the requirement.
However, after I graduated, I was fortunate to be able to work in the area of community nutrition for eight years through the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. The job experience has truly ignited my passion in nutrition, and during those years, I realized I enjoy working in the field and helping people to eat healthy. I became interested to learn more about the different specialties of nutrition and to expand my scope of work by becoming a dietitian. I also wanted to further my knowledge in nutrition by pursuing a master’s degree after years of education gap. I began taking the necessary courses so that I could apply to the dietetic internship program.
I chose UB because of its academic excellence, good standing and affordability. UB’s dietetic internship program is one of the reputable programs in the area and since UB has affiliations to many organizations in the region, students have opportunities to intern in a wide-array of settings. Besides that, I like that I can earn a master’s degree while doing the internship. I also did not have to relocate and will be able to work in the community that I am familiar with.
I just finished my clinical nutrition semester interning at Buffalo General Medical Center, where I gained field experience in acute care, critical care and clinical nutrition management. I also had three weeks of long-term care and a week of renal rotation. Currently, I am in my food service and management semester, learning about community nutrition and food service operations at Meals on Wheels for WNY. So far, I have learned about the different career prospects and job responsibilities of a Registered Dietitian (RD). I also have the opportunity to function as a member of interprofessional teams. The site placements are in a variety of settings and populations which allows me to explore different areas of interest. In addition, I am able to get involved in community health events and leadership opportunities to make the most out of this experience.
The graduate classes have helped me in understanding the science of nutrition and better provide nutrition education to patients/clients during my rotation. For example, in Nutrient Metabolism in Health and Disease course, case studies on nutrition-related disease were discussed.
The faculty at UB value diversity and understand that students come from different professional and academic backgrounds. They listen to your feedback and provide support when needed. The structure of the program places you in professional work settings, so it was easy for me to adapt to graduate school as a non-traditional student.
UB sets high standards for the students and the academics are challenging. I believe the combined program will provide me strong clinical skills and nutrition science knowledge. Furthermore, UB’s active involvement in the community and the program’s focus on servicing the needs of the region offer a well-rounded learning experience.