My name is Elise Fawcett; I am a Registered Dietitian and recent graduate of American University’s online Nutrition Education Masters program. For the past four years I have been employed at a school district in southern Delaware as a school nutrition specialist. For the most part, my position involves planning menus that meet the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 meal pattern regulations, but of course there are additional responsibilities that make working in food service an unpredictable yet extremely rewarding field.
Although I already held a B.S. in dietetics; when I thought about continuing my education and pursing a master’s degree; I wanted to choose a program that wasn’t clinically focused as many advanced nutrition degrees are. I didn’t think that would help in my current position but that isn’t to say that this program isn’t current or science-based; it certainly was. After plenty of research, I found that the courses offered in AU’s Master of Science in Nutrition Education program met my needs for what I wanted to accomplish at this point in my professional life as a RD working in school food service.
Pursuing an online degree was the best decision for me because I don’t live very close to any college campuses that offer advanced degrees in nutrition. Also, considering I work full time, it was much more flexible for me to go at my own pace. The eight week duration of each class goes very quickly so it is extremely important to keep up with the weekly readings and assignments. At times, I found it to be a bit challenging balancing life, work, and school work but the hard work, late nights, and early mornings paid off in the end.
Another positive aspect to highlight about this program is that the participating students and instructors differ greatly in geographic location and educational background. It was very refreshing to connect with students outside of the realm of nutrition and hear about their opinions on course topics.
Now that I have completed the program, I am still working as a school nutrition specialist planning menus, but I am also in the process of connecting with some pilot schools to implement nutrition education in the classroom. The school district I work for, like many across the nation, is so caught up in improving math and English test scores that nutrition and physical education is often overlooked for many teachers. I am planning to connect with teachers new to the school district over the summer and provide them with activities that they can incorporate into their school day to benefit their students. This is a grand accomplishment I can attribute to the knowledge gleaned through this Master’s program!
To learn more about American University’s online Master of Science in Nutrition Education, request more information or call us toll free at 855-725-7614.