Dietetic Career Spotlight: Olivia Wagner, Dietetic Student
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on JANUARY 8, 2013
Meet Olivia Wagner, a dietetic student who blogs, writes for publications, networks, volunteers as an executive member, created a special interest group, and still finds time to volunteer. Learn how you can start your career at any level. – Sarah
Sarah Koszyk, RD: What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
Olivia Wagner: I grew up in a family where sharing a meal that had been prepared together was not only a means of tradition, but a form of family bonding. From an early age this importance sparked my interest in different food’s and experimenting with them to develop delicious meals for people to enjoy together.
As I got older my culinary interest evolved to focus on using nutrient dense, and wholesome foods to make meals for my family to enjoy that were not only delicious, but also nutritious. This passion motivated me pursue an education in nutrition so that in the future I could work to bridge the gap between the community, healthful ingredients, and great food.
Nutrition and Dietetic Student at Miami University and preparing to apply for Dietetic Internships.
Describe a typical (or not so typical day for you):
As a student I attend classes and am frequently found at Miami’s King Library throughout the week. On top of my general schoolwork I am involved in a multitude of extracurricular activities.
As an executive member of Miami’s Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (SAND) I have created a special interest group called MUVE (Miami University Vegetarian Eating). This group was founded to bring together those SAND members who share the same passion for supporting sustainable foods, cooking delicious foods, and encouraging an overall more plant focused diet. The group is involved in the local natural foods co-op, farmers market, and is in the process of creating a new vegetarian to-go entrée for the campus dining halls. Later this month we will be taking a field trip to a local farm to learn more about how it is operated and lend a hand in their garden! As an executive member of SAND I participate in the monthly activities and events that we host to promote wellness and healthy eating on campus. These activities include: dorm nutrition education presentations, Sneaky Chef presentations, cooking labs, volunteering at the Oxford Food Pantry, decorating cookies at the local retirement home, and hosting brunches for special events like parents weekend and homecoming.
As a blogger for Miami Universities UP Magazine, I write weekly articles on nutrition, healthy eating, and wellness. These articles are published online in the UpKeep section of the magazines blog www.upfashionmagazine.org <Upmagazine@tumblr.com>.
Recently I have posted articles on topics including; trending foods for fall, healthy snacks for game day, and how to cook spaghetti squash. I have started developing some of the recipes I use and many of my posts include pictures of foods that I have prepared and taken myself.
As the student columnist for the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietary Practice Group, I write 4 articles a year addressing issues that students’ members will find of interest. Currently I am working on an article on attending FNCE as a student and how to prepare for applying for the Dietetic internship.
As Vice President of Philanthropy for a sorority at Miami University, I dedicate multiple hours a week between planning philanthropy events to promote literacy, attending chapter and executive meetings, and acting as one of the leaders in recruitment and chapter recognition on campus. For the month of November I have organized the implementation of a program called Champions Are Readers in three 3rd grade classrooms at a local elementary school.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I have always had a spark of energy that feeds my outgoing personality, passionate demeanor, and has helped me to be an effective communicator with others.
Organization and time management both never came easy to me. As I became more invested in my future and passionate about my career goals, I have learned to better manage these. My motivation helped me improve the way I structure my life so I can adequately set myself up to thrive in the present as well as prepare for success in the future.
What advice do I have for others wanting to be as successful and fulfilled as you?
For other students passionate about their future careers in nutrition I advise them to GET ACTIVE! Find a way to make your vision come to life. Join organizations, take leadership roles, and don’t be afraid to step out of the box and do something different. Another suggestion I have for students is to network, network, network! Reach out to people that you respect in the dietetic or health community. Current professionals are cheering for us as students to excel in the field and are eager to pass their words of wisdom on so don’t hesitate to reach!