Dietetic Career Spotlight: Holly Larson, MS, RD
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on APRIL 12, 2013
Holly Larson always loved to write and blog. Now she has a career doing it in addition to teaching and counseling. – Sarah
Sarah Koszyk, MA, RD: What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
Holly Larson, MS, RD: I have always been fascinated with food, with cooking and how our body works to turn food into energy, allowing us to grow and how different eating patterns change how we feel. I also was a vegetarian for many years. Before my parents would let their 12 year old daughter make the leap to vegetarian eating, they asked me to do reading about nutrition to make sure that my new eating habits were nourishing my growing body.
Your Job Title?
Food Writer, Adjunct Faculty and WIC Nutritionist.
Company you are with now?
My current work schedule is a little nutty- I teach at a local community college. I am writing on my own blog and pursuing free lance writing opportunities and I also work for WIC twice a week. It is nice to have a great deal of variety.
A typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you?
As I work several places, I don’t really have a typical day! I am working from home some – course planning, grading and addressing student questions and concerns take time, as do recipe planning, cooking and photography for my blog. Working for WIC includes nutrition education, breastfeeding support and a lot of weight management discussions; both for the moms and the kiddos.
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
I am writing because I decided to stop ignoring the little voice in my head to pursue it…I have always loved to read and discovered a few years ago while travel blogging that I have a knack and passion for writing too. As I develop my voice, I hope to have the opportunity to publish my own articles and some day, a cookbook. I got the opportunity to teach through my mentor I connected with when I first moved to DC – she was teaching at the community college and recommended that I apply. I am certainly glad that I did because I enjoy the work and have learned so much from teaching. You really have to understand the material in order to teach it well to someone else.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I have always been a natural teacher and so this has helped me to be able to find the way to explain something in a way that resonates with my students and clients and it my writing. I am developing my networking skills and public speaking because my tendency is to be shy. Teaching in a classroom setting is a great practice!
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
Don’t be afraid to take risks and to pursue a non-traditional path. Many dietitians work in a hospital setting with sick adults, but that just doesn’t speak to me. I am must more interested in prevention and wellness. Having said that, even if jobs I worked in the past weren’t my dream job, I learned a lot from each experience. Don’t forget to do your best work where you are now or you won’t have the recommendations needed to get where you’re going next. Also, don’t be afraid to ask. You never know who is willing to give you additional training or experience or who might be a great mentor until you ask – the answer may sometimes be no, but it is often yes! Finally!
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?
Good food and books. Having a stocked kitchen and bookshelf always makes me feel rich. And if I didn’t already own two bikes, I would be happy to be paid with one.