Willa Jaffe

Current Role: Current MSNE Student
Graduate Program: MS in Nutrition Education
Graduate Year: 2017


WILLA JAFFE: The reason I went with AU is because they offered not just a clinical nutrition program, but more of a nutrition meets kind of psychology education program. Which was much more my style. I like talking to people and working with people, and I like science. But I'm more of the communication style of trying to help people, as opposed to totally based by the numbers. And I hadn't heard of that program anywhere else, and that fit exactly what I wanted to do with my future.


What was your motivation or goal that prompted you to research and begin your degree program? Why did you choose a Master’s in Nutrition Education?

I chose nutrition because I think it's relevant. I've been thinking about the connection between disease and the food people consume, and I think there's a strong connection there. I wondered if there was a way of creating healthier outlooks for individuals that does not rely on medication or spending a lot of money on weight loss mechanisms.

What made American University the obvious choice for you as opposed to other higher education institutions?

I chose AU because they made it easy for me to choose them. I was searching for an online program and submitted my information to AU to receive more information. AU called me right away and took the time to explain the program and help me along in the application process. As they helped me along, I realized that this type of program was just what I was looking for but I had no idea it existed.

AU offered not just a clinical nutrition program, but more of a nutrition-meets-psychology/education program, which was much more my style. I like talking and working with people and this program focuses on human interactions to create self-efficacy and behavior change with a solid base of nutritional knowledge.

I also valued online education a lot because I didn't have to move to another state and I could continue working full time, thus funding my education easier and lowering the amount of loans I would have to eventually borrow. For me, attending school online contributed to a healthy work and life balance.

Please summarize how you would describe the program and your experience. What’s the program’s biggest strength? How has the program exceeded your expectations?

I was pleasantly surprised by how the program worked, not quite knowing what to expect. I was concerned about navigating the technology aspect of school, but it was very user-friendly. We dealt in discussion boards and various kinds of video and powerpoint for presentations and group work.

What I liked best about the program was the flexibility. I made my own schedule when it came to school work, however there were deadlines and guidelines that kept me on track and helped me plan my week. Another strong point of the program was how interactive it was. A lot of people I've spoken to have been doubtful of my experience because of the online nature and lack of human interaction. On the contrary, the discussion posts and Skype chats with professors made the learning environment highly interactive. I am still in touch with some of my classmates who I got to know during the program.

I think that the nutrition program was outstanding because of the professors. They were from diverse backgrounds with diverse specialties in the nutrition world. I enjoyed hearing their real-life experiences. The resources we were privy to were of high quality and were very helpful in complementing the classes and discussion posts each week. The AU Library website of periodicals was especially resourceful.

What do you plan to do with your degree?

After I graduate, I aspire to work in food access — working with communities of people, likely in an urban setting, that don’t have reliable access to affordable healthy food. I would like to work with these communities, expanding their food and nutrition knowledge, and guiding them towards behavior change that leads to better health outcomes. I believe everyone has the right to access healthy food and I want to work to accomplish that idea.

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.