The Flexibility of Online Education Allowed Me to Pursue My Passion

Graduate Program: MS in Nutrition Education
Graduate Year: 2016

My name is Carolina Espinel and I am from Guayaquil, Ecuador. I am a student at American University pursuing an online MS in Nutrition Education.

I completed the Graduate Certificate in Nutrition Education, also at AU, when I was living in Washington, DC. The Certificate was a partly online program, meaning that I had some classes on campus and some online. I was extremely satisfied with the online classes – the course materials were appropriate and complemented by useful resources such as webinars and guest lecturers. Further, the instructors were great, providing timely guidance and feedback. I also enjoyed the discussions with my online classmates, with whom I often interacted as much as with in-class classmates! Finally, a great attribute of the online classes was that they allowed me to manage my own time as I needed – of course I had a timeline for completing assignments and quizzes, but the courses were so well designed that they allowed me to get organized conveniently.

Upon completing the Certificate in December 2014, I moved back to Ecuador and started my own private practice as a nutrition educator, providing clients with information about healthy eating and exercise. Still, I felt the need to have a more advanced and professional degree, namely an MS. It was great that I had the opportunity to follow this program. Being online, it allowed me to pursue the MS all the way from Ecuador! Additionally, I have been able to work while studying. Of course it has been a challenging task, but the structure of the courses and the guidance of the instructors have ensured a rewarding academic experience. I realize work and study complement each other, and it has been wonderful to count with the instructor and other classmates’ expertise.

Even though I am far away from DC and the AU campus, whenever I am working for my classes, reading discussion posts by classmates, receiving feedback from instructors or connecting via the various platforms available to chat online with the class, I feel like I am physically at the University again. These tools facilitate connection; they shorten the distance and allow for a close contact. The instructors provide constant guidance and feedback, and classmates are encouraged to interact continually. And the most amazing thing is when people from diverse backgrounds and locations come together. I have had classmates not only from different American States, but also from different parts of the world! As I am over halfway through the program I find myself wishing that this could last forever. Truth is, you are studying and reading a lot, but at this point it feels like you are doing constant research for topics you are completely passionate about. After all, when you choose a master's program you are likely to do so based on what you are sure you love doing. And that is exactly how it should feel; the heavy workload should be justified by your passion to learn. This is how I feel with this program: in love with what I am doing. And doing it online has allowed me to do what I love.

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.

  • About the Author

    Carolina Espinel

    Carolina Espinel has a BA in Political Science and International Relations from Universidad San Francisco de Quito and a Graduate Certificate in Nutrition Education from American University. She is currently pursuing her MSNE at AU. She works at her own private practice as a nutritionist and conducts workshops teaching nutrition education to several audiences in Ecuador. She is also a fitness enthusiast: she is a certified Spinning and Pilates instructor, and she aims to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. After completing the MSNE she wishes to continue promoting nutrition education in different scenarios. Additionally, she wishes to conduct research that contributes to health promoting policies thus combining her Political Science background with her career in Nutrition.