This past week, students in Dr. Rita Johnson’s FDNT 430: Professional Topics in Food and Nutrition class began working on their personal statements in a unit on career design. Writing personal statements is a major component of senior students’ applications for a required dietetic internship to become registered dietitians. Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Services (DICAs) is the matching system used by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to match Food and Nutrition (F&N) students to a dietetic internship program. In addition to the DICAs matching system, IUP seniors are eligible to apply directly to the competitive IUP dietetic internship; however, to apply, students must have a total GPA of 3.5 or higher.
In collaboration with the Writing Across the Curriculum program, Marissa McKinley (Assistant Writing Program Administrator, Ph.D. Candidate, English Composition and TESOL (C&T), and English Temporary Faculty Instructor) is volunteering as a guest speaker in Dr. Johnson’s course. McKinley is leading a series of two writing workshops, tailored to F&N student’s dietetic internship application needs.
The first workshop was offered by McKinley on October 12, 2017; this workshop focused on the structure and organization of a personal statement. Some of the topics McKinley covered included writing advice, such as maintaining a voice as an expert, and utilizing the active voice. Students looked at an annotated personal statement written by McKinley and discussed the rhetorical moves that she utilized to maintain an organized and authoritative personal statement that showcase her strengths, community involvement, professional experiences, short-term and long-term goals, and future areas of growth. On October 31st, McKinley and Marie Webb (2nd year Ph.D. student in English: C&T, F&N GA) will be assisting Dr. Johnson to conduct a peer review workshop. The peer review workshop will center upon identifying and writing clear and unique transferable skills that FDNT 430 students will bring to the program/graduate school(s) to which they apply.
Dr. Johnson and McKinley’s collaboration is a perfect example of how IUP faculty from different disciplines can come together to strengthen their pedagogy. Furthermore, while the described FDNT 430 course, prepares students for their careers as a registered dietitian, it serves as a model for how to incorporate writing assignments to reinforce student learning and development as communicators, as outlined by the Department of Food and Nutrition’s recent consultation with IUP’s Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) expert, Dr. Bryna Siegel Finer.
Written by Marie Webb
Edited by Marissa McKinley and Dr. Stephanie Taylor-Davis PhD, RD, LDN