Dietetics students achieve perfect match rate for internships
Dietetics students in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences have achieved a 100 percent placement rate for post-graduate dietetic internships.
Including the fall 2022 and spring 2023 application data, all 30 FACS dietetics students who applied this year were selected by supervised practice programs, a critical step in becoming credentialed as a registered dietitian nutritionist.
The national acceptance rate for 2023 was 85 percent, according to the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.
“Receiving acceptance to a dietetic internship is a rigorous process,” said Emma Laing, director of the undergraduate dietetics program in the department of nutritional sciences. “Students start their applications during their junior year and intentionally build on their skills to become competitive applicants. Our M.S. + DPD (Didactic Program in Dietetics) and Ph.D. + DPD students are growing in number and these students must balance meeting dietetics requirements on top of their graduate coursework.”
Students learn of their placements after participating in interviews and visits to supervised practice programs across the country – these are either stand-alone internships or are combined with graduate programs.
To participate in the match, dietetics students rank supervised practice programs where they would like to complete their hands-on training – much like a residency for medical students; simultaneously, the internship programs rank the student applicants.
The lists are then submitted to the D&D Digital Online Dietetics Internship Matching Service for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which uses an algorithm that aligns the choices of the applicants with those of the internship programs.
In addition to the professional development course required for all dietetics students, Laing offers workshops and leadership and shadowing opportunities outside of class that prepare students for the application process.
UGA dietetics students seeking to become a registered dietitian nutritionist must first complete coursework in an accredited program – the FACS dietetics major is a DPD accredited by ACEND – receive a minimum of a master’s degree and achieve approximately 1,000 hours of competency based training in an accredited supervised practice program.
Following successful completion of the internship and graduate degree, students then have to pass the national comprehensive Commission on Dietetic Registration RDN exam, obtain licensure per state requirements and complete ongoing continuing education to keep this credential.
“The faculty and staff in our program and preceptors in our community have done an outstanding job preparing our students to succeed as future RDNs,” Laing said. “Our Double Dawgs pathway has emerged as a popular avenue to meet the CDR’s graduate degree requirement because many internships allow our M.S. online students to complete their supervised practice hours and their graduate degree at the same time.”
This year’s graduates will attend highly competitive supervised practice programs throughout the country, including Cleveland Clinic, Emory University Hospital, Morrison Healthcare, Sodexo, Diversify Dietetics, Lipscomb University and the University of Utah.
“The UGA dietetics program was challenging but rewarding,” said M.S.+ DPD student Dianna Thomas. “Balancing my dietetics courses alongside my master’s thesis requirements was difficult, but the support and resources provided by the faculty were unwavering. Because of all the support from this outstanding program, I was matched to my top dietetic internship, Emory Hospital Dietetic Internship, and successfully defended my master’s thesis project. I can’t thank this program enough for helping me achieve my goals.”
Below is a list of students who were accepted to programs this year, shared with permission:
Stephanie Brimeyer, Augusta University
Brianna Cannova, Keith & Associates
Gabbi Carroll, Morrison Healthcare
Neal Chauhan, Manchester University
Harley Cobb, Sodexo
Senka Colo, Emory University Hospital
Melissa Cruz, Diversify Dietetics
Jamie DiBartolomeo, Meredith College
Maybrie Eubanks, Morrison Healthcare
Laney Jones, Morrison Healthcare
Kendall Kaikkonen, Emory University Hospital
Hannah Jane Kedzierski, Wellness Workdays
Christi King, University of Houston
Mary Lazzaro, University of Georgia
Kate Levinson, Medical University of South Carolina (Morrison Healthcare)
Makayla Mayes, Samford University
Rebecca Mergy, University of Houston
Emily Neuhaus, Priority Nutrition Care
Alissa Pantuosco, Illinois State University
Avery Prosperi, Wellness Workdays
Rose Sebaugh, Simmons College
Megan Smith, Cleveland Clinic
Amy Speer, University of Utah
Brooke Stephan, Wellness Workdays
Reagan Street, Cleveland Clinic
Emma Sykucki, Morrison Healthcare
Dianna Thomas, Emory University Hospital
Megan Tomlin, Medical University of South Carolina (Morrison Healthcare)
Hannah Turner, Keiser University
Amelia Valdez, Lipscomb University