Dietetics students continue run of impressive results
“Notification Day,” or the day when dietetics students find out if they are matched for post-graduate dietetic internships, is a milestone event marked by both stress and elation.
Including the fall 2021 and spring 2022 application data collected to date, 36 dietetics students in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences who applied this year were selected by supervised practice programs, a pivotal step in becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist. UGA boasted a 100 percent match rate in the 2020-21 cycle, compared to the national rate of 73 percent.
“Receiving a match is both an emotional and validating moment in our students’ lives that reflects their hard work during their time at UGA,” said Emma Laing, director of the undergraduate dietetics program within the FACS department of nutritional sciences.
A bi-annual event, Notification Day takes place after students participate in interviews and visits to supervised practice programs in Georgia and across the country, many of which are also 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.
The first round of D&D Digital pairings was announced simultaneously across the U.S. on April 3. The second round opened April 6 and is ongoing.
In addition to a newly required professional development course for all dietetics students, Laing offers workshops and a multitude of leadership and shadowing opportunities outside of class that prepare students to succeed in this rigorous application process.
Students seeking to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist must first complete coursework in an accredited program – the FACS dietetics major is a Didactic Program in Dietetics accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics – then achieve approximately 1,000 hours of supervised practice in an accredited post-graduate program.
Following successful completion of the internship, students then have to pass the national comprehensive Commission on Dietetic Registration RDN exam and complete ongoing continuing education to keep this credential.
“The dietetics program at UGA was a very difficult program to endure but the faculty provides all the resources you need to be a great competitor for internships and master’s programs,” said student Emmaline Peterson, who is bound for Georgia State University. “Dr. Laing and other staff made it very clear how willing they were to help us every step of the way. I became president of UGA’s Student Dietetic Association and achieved various other accomplishments I never thought I was capable of, all with the help and support of the staff and faculty of the program.”
This year’s graduates will attend highly competitive supervised practice programs throughout the country, including Vanderbilt, University of Chicago, University of Houston, Georgia State University, Augusta University and Emory University Hospital, among others.
“Our students are headed to top-notch supervised practice programs in Georgia and throughout the United States,” Laing said. “I am extremely proud of their hard work and dedication toward achieving this milestone that will launch their careers. The faculty and staff in our program and preceptors in our community have done an outstanding job preparing our students to become successful and compassionate future RDNs.”
Below is a list of students who were matched to programs this year, shared with permission:
Samantha Bonnett, Augusta University
Charity Conner, Morrison Healthcare
Whitley Carter, Illinois State University
Anson Chang, Life University
Carly Clark, Augusta University
Hannah Crawford, Gulf Coast Dietetic Internship
Callie Davis, University of Alabama-Birmingham
Flannery Daughtry, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Alejandro Delgado, University of Houston
Molly Edwards, Emory University Hospital
Kathryn Gazaway, Georgia Southern University
Megan Govedich, Morrison Healthcare
Margaret Green, Lipscomb University
Kinsey Hargis, Sodexo
Savannah Harris, Virginia Commonwealth University
Hannah Harper, Aramark
Katy Hewitt, Samford University
Sarah Parker Jones, University of Alabama-Birmingham
Julia Lance, University of Georgia
Hailey Leskanic, University of North Florida
Madison Locke, Sodexo, Medical University of South Carolina
Jamie Lyons, University of Chicago
Mallory McDaniel, Sodexo
Mariah McDaniel, Wellness Workdays
Helen Morgan, University of Alabama-Birmingham
Carleen Mullins, University of Northern Colorado
Carley Mullins, Wellness Workdays
Madelyn Percival, Be Well Solutions
Emmaline Peterson, Georgia State University
Catherine Ruter, University of Houston
Libby Siegel, Sodexo, Medical University of South Carolina
Starlyn Street, Georgia Southern University
Amber Sullivan, Augusta University
Jayla Thurman, Priority Nutrition Care
Katie Verret, Emory University Hospital
Jillien Zukaitis, Winthrop University