Lauren Chrapowitzky is currently a student in the Dietetic Internship with Master's of Science in Nutrition program at the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions.
There are a number of reasons, but it boils down to one: because it’s what I’m most passionate about. I have worked in other fields, have had a number of different jobs, and none of them made me feel fulfilled. I woke up one day, in my mid-to-late twenties and decided that what I was missing was doing something that I cared about. I had been deeply interested in nutrition since using a combination of diet and exercise to change my own life. I finally decided that the best thing that I could do was to use that interest to help others. When I made the choice to go back to school, I wanted to ensure that my education was research based and would leave me in the position to be a leader in the field. Becoming a dietitian and pursuing a master's degree in nutrition science were key steps to helping me achieve those goals.
I was in a didactic program in dietetics at The Sage Colleges in Troy, NY and started looking for dietetic internships that also had the option of a graduate degree. UB offered a fairly unique opportunity for me to be enrolled in graduate classes while simultaneously completing the required hours for the dietetic internship. When I met with Barbara Schultz, the internship director, I was blown away by her enthusiasm, knowledge and passion. It was clear that the program was dedicated to ensuring that interns at UB are offered the best possible opportunities to succeed. From that meeting, I knew that Buffalo was where I was supposed to be.
I am currently in the midst of completing 1,200 hours of supervised practice, which has included placements in hospitals working in clinical management, acute care, critical care, dialysis and transplant dietetics, long term care facilities, outpatient counseling, food service, research and community nutrition. This year also allowed me to build some of the foundations of my nutrition knowledge with classes in metabolism, nutrition assessment and micronutrients among others. The challenge of working towards both goals pushed us to be better. Though it was difficult at times, the support of the program directors along with the department made it manageable. Next year I look forward to classes in pregnancy and infant nutrition, population health and wellbeing, and continuing work on my thesis. I am working with Dr. Todd Rideout to examine the effects of a-lipoic acid supplementation on glucose control in patients with pre-diabetes. It is exciting to be able to take advantage of these great opportunities to expand my knowledge in the field.
I have the great fortune of working every day with other future professionals that are caring, enthusiastic and hard working. It is exciting to see each of my classmates succeed and work towards their own goals. The faculty at UB share in these characteristics and are always willing to provide support when needed. My preceptors and other individuals I have worked with throughout Buffalo have each added to my education, and have provided valuable advice and feedback as I move forward in my career. I will be forever grateful to have met each one.
UB has both a global perspective and a community focus. This is clear from the research being conducted, the work of the students and faculty, and the opportunities we are presented with. I think that being able to look at a problem within your own community, and thinking about what it might mean within a broader context of health, the environment, or social problems is a unique quality. It is one that I believe is fostered at UB and it is something that I hope will set me apart in the future.