Where are graduates now?

Melissa Quinn (2006)

Coordinator of Industry Development and Competitive Transition

1. What year did you graduate and what degree did you receive?

I graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition 

2. Where are you working now, what is your job title and what are your key responsibilities?

I work at Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture as the Coordinator of Industry Development and Competitive Transition. I work with individual agri-food businesses and industry associations to develop and adapt innovative solutions to problems in the Agriculture and Food Processing Sectors. 

3. How did your degree contribute to your career accomplishments?

I had an opportunity to work with an agriculture firm during my degree at Acadia, sensory testing blueberries. Upon graduation, I was hired by the firm and worked as a Product Development Specialist developing healthy snack options for the public school system as well as developing a fresh cut line for vegetable processing. This experience led me to the Provincial Government position in 2008. 

4. What advice would you give to students currently in the program?

Try everything you can while you are at Acadia. There are many opportunities to apply your studies to real world examples in working with companies which in turn gives you experience for both your resume as well as a clearer idea of what you want to do upon graduation. 

Contact: Melissa.Quinn@novascotia.ca 


Kendra Riggs (2006)

Outpatient dietitian at the Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville

1. What year did you graduate and what degree did you receive?

I received a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Acadia in May of 2006 and completed my dietetic internship, through Acadia, in December of 2006.

2. Where are you working now, what is your job title and what are your key responsibilities?

I currently work as an outpatient dietitian at the Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville. As part of my job, I provide nutrition education and support on a variety of topics (diabetes, heart disease, gastrointestinal illnesses, hypertension, eating disorders, malnutrition, enteral nutrition, etc.) to individuals and groups from pediatrics to adults. I also provide the nutrition component of our Cardiac Rehab Program which includes a hands on cooking component.

3. How did your degree contribute to your career accomplishments?

My degree and internship at Acadia both provided me with a base skill set for the position I hold today. Hands on activities and real world case studies, used in my degree, helped provide me an understanding of how the dietitian can be a valued member of the interprofessional team. Connections I developed during my time at Acadia led me to my current position. 

4. What advice would you give to students currently in the program?

Make connections! You never know when a professor, preceptor or fellow student may turn into a future colleague. Take advantage of any opportunity that comes your way, even if it means stepping outside of your comfort zone. You never know when that opportunity may present itself into a job opportunity, build a connection or increase your skill set.

Contact: kendra.riggs@nshealth.ca


Kate Comeau (2006)

Manager of Public Relations and Media for Dietitians of Canada

1. What year did you graduate and what degree did you receive?

I graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition with Honors.

2. Where are you working now, what is your job title and what are your key responsibilities?

I am the Manager of Public Relations and Media for Dietitians of Canada. In a nutshell, my job is to be the key face of Dietitians of Canada for the media and also help dietitians to feel more confident. I am responsible for planning, developing and executing communications strategies that continuously grow and strengthen the association’s relationship with members and that bring added value to members through stronger relationships with the media, other stakeholders and the general public. In September 2015, I also took a position as a part time lecturer at Acadia University to teach the Professional Practice in Dietetics course.

3. How did your degree contribute to your career accomplishments? 

During my undergrad I was very interested in research. At the urging of my professors, I did a Master’s degree at McGill where I increased my skills and interest in nutrition and dietetics and completed my internship. Acadia prepared me for the research work as well as for the internship. The diversity of the course work helped me to gain an interest in other areas like communications, which eventually became my full time job.

4. What advice would you give to students currently in the program?

I would encourage students to get involved. I learned a lot from the various volunteer opportunities that I took part in. Also be a mentor to people coming behind you. When starting out in our careers, we feel like we don’t have much to offer. However, there’s always something you can say to someone in the other years that can help them and you talk to them about their experience.

Contact: kategcomeau@gmail.com

 

 

Sarah Campbell Bligh (2007)

Simulated Patient Educator (SPE)

1. What year did you graduate and what degree did you receive?

I graduated in 2007 and received a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition. I completed my integrated dietetic internship with Acadia in December 2007.

2. Where are you working now, what is your job title and what are your key responsibilities?

After working as a dietetic educator in the community, and for several terms at Acadia, I'm now a simulated patient educator (SPE) in the Centre for Collaborative Clinical Learning and Research at Dalhousie University. I work collaboratively with the faculties of Medicine, Health, and Dentistry to develop, implement, and evaluate pedagogically-sound instructional supports - predominantly experiential learning with simulated patients/participants. I also engage in educational research, and provide educational programming support for external clients. It's a non-traditional role for a dietitian, however my understanding of health professional education and regulation that my previous experiences have afforded me have been invaluable. All the SPEs I work with come from different health/educational backgrounds, so it is a very inter-professional working environment. For more information on what we do, check out dal.ca/ipe and look for the Centre for Collaborative Clinical Learning and Research.

3. How did your degree contribute to your career accomplishments? 

I feel like I’ve used every course I ever took. I’ve had some diverse roles between my paid and volunteer work, and I felt able to step into all of them because of the foundation set at Acadia. In my current role I work with multiple deadlines, different personalities, and across disciplines. The combination of my undergraduate training and work experience helps me balance theory and application. My undergraduate education also prepared me for graduate study. I’m currently completing a Masters in Adult Education, and the critical thinking, writing, and time management skills that I learned at Acadia have been incredibly useful in navigating graduate studies while working full time in an academic setting.

4. What advice would you give to students currently in the program?

Be willing to explore your options. When I graduated I thought I would only be happy in a specific area of dietetics; I still haven’t worked in that role! I’ve had job opportunities that I never expected though, and I’m grateful that I decided to try something that wasn’t in my original plan. This eventually led me to health professional education, and I have loved every step along the way. The foundation you're building can take you in so many directions – don’t be afraid to try a few paths before you decide which one is for you.

Contact: scampbellbligh@dal.ca


Keira Barron (2010)

Long Term Care Clinical Dietitian

1. What year did you graduate and what degree did you receive?

I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition in 2010.

2. Where are you working now, what is your job title and what are your key responsibilities?

I’m currently working in Long Term Care as a Clinical Dietitian at Brentwood Care Centre in Calgary. I’m responsible for the nutritional needs of 237 residents. This includes regular nutrition screening, assessments, care plan development and review, as well as monitoring weight monthly and as needed. I also perform swallowing assessments, develop and review cycle menus and I am part of my facility’s wound care team. I’m currently working with the other dietitians within the company to develop a nutrition process or protocol for us to use in pressure ulcer treatment. 

3. How did your degree contribute to your career accomplishments?

The Nutrition and Dietetics program at Acadia provided me with excellent foundational knowledge, which I built on during the Acadia Graduate Internship program. I was taught not to be afraid of challenging processes and incorporating best practice into my day to day work. The faculty and staff were very encouraging and helped me develop the self confidence to push my own boundaries. They have also acted as great role models and mentors over the years.

4. What advice would you give to students currently in the program?

Even though there are times during undergrad when you feel like you’ll never have any spare time again, it will prepare you for internship, if that’s the path that you choose, and help you develop the time management skills to maintain a good work/life balance. I’d also like to encourage people who may not land their dream job right out of school to continue to find ways to incorporate and adapt their passions to their work. The results will rarely disappoint and will almost always help with the next step in their career in nutrition and dietetics.

Contact: kbarron@intercarecorpgroup.com


Valerie MacPherson (2010)

Administrative Dietitian

1. What year did you graduate and what degree did you receive?

I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition degree in May, 2010 and completed an Acadia University Integrated Dietetic Internship in December, 2010.

2. Where are you working now, what is your job title and what are your key responsibilities?

I am currently working as a Wellness Facilitator, Dietitian with the Community Health Teams in Central Zone, Nova Scotia Health Authority. My key responsibilities include facilitating group based health and wellness programs focused on nutrition, weight management, behaviour change and goal setting. I also navigate clients to other resources and programs in their community that will help support their health and wellness goals. As a community dietitian, I work closely with other organizations to build capacity and support them in health and wellness programming.


3. How did your degree contribute to your career accomplishments?

The Bachelor of Science in Nutrition program allowed me to feel confident in the technical abilities required for my job which relate directly to my work responsibilities. The knowledge and skills I gained from hands on experiences (i.e. presentations, group projects and community work) in courses such as Nutrition Communication and Community Nutrition are applied to the work I do every day. I also gained many transferable skills such as organization and overall health and wellness communication which have been an asset in my career thus far. During the integrated internship program I was encouraged to explore opportunities outside of my comfort zone, these opportunities helped shape my practice as a dietitian.


4. What advice would you give to students currently in the program?

The biggest advice I have is to enjoy every moment of your university degree. It is a unique time in your life filled with learning and self growth. It is important to get involved in the extracurricular activities Acadia has to offer! I particularly enjoyed participating in NADS (Nutrition and Dietetics Society) activities, S.M.I.L.E, Best Buddies and the Acadia Dance Collective. School can be busy and stressful but it is important to make time for activities that interest you. Many lifelong friendships and professional relationships can be formed through these activities.

Contact: Valerie.MacPherson@nshealth.ca


Glen Butt (2012)

Logistics Officer in Food Services and Accommodations Officer

1. What year did you graduate and what degree did you receive?

I graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition.

2. Where are you working now, what is your job title and what are your key responsibilities?

I work in the 3rd Canadian Division Support Group Garrison Wainwright, Alberta, as a Logistics Officer in Food Services and Accommodations Officer. My responsibilities include providing food services to military soldiers both domestically and abroad, in response to Canadian Armed Forces Operations and Training Exercises.

3. How did your degree contribute to your career accomplishments?

I work with the Directorate of Food Services within Canadian Armed Forces where I am responsible for implementation of a safe work environment that meets the dietary needs of Canadian Soldiers and enabling effective and efficient feeding support to the CAF thus achieving optimal nutrition, food safety, compliance, and environmental stewardship. Specifically, my nutrition degree has taught me food safety, staffing ratios, and cost recoveries. The experiences I gained while working in a commerical food environment at Acadia gave me the necessary 'corporate knowledge' to implement a safe work environment. Additionally, staffing ratios and cost recoveries are also important components to running an effective dining facility. Learning to staff properly has taught me to use a modified 5/2 schedule rather than a 10/4.  On a 10/4 schedule, 50% of my staff work weekends, but on a modified 5/2, only 33% of my staff work weekends. Reduced labour costs means higher revenue and a better work life balance. Ensuring cost recoveries are also important because it allows the Kitchen Manager to better determine where to focus his/her staff: salary reduction, lowering food or non-food costs or other (maintenance). 

4. What advice would you give to students currently in the program?

Acadia gave me all the advice I needed. The instructors prepped me well.  I would stress that when you hit the work force.  The most powerful advice I got from Acadia came from Barb Anderson when she told me, "no matter how important or long or complicated your report is, you have to be able to sum it up in either 1 sentence, 3 sentences, or 1 page."

Contact: David.Butt3@forces.gc.ca