Dietetic Career Spotlight on Danya Arnold, Director of Nutrition at K-12 Culinary School
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on SEPTEMBER 19, 2016
How you can change the lives of children through school nutrition like Danya Arnold, MBA, MS, RD, LD. Learn about her career path to becoming the Director of Nutrition at K-12 Culinary School. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
The fact that nutrition information is so often sought after but also so often given by those that aren’t qualified. I wanted to learn all I could to better educate with sound advice.
Your Job Title?
Director of Nutrition
Company you are with now?
K-12 Culinary Connection
– Facebook: K-12 Culinary Connection
Describe a typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you?
There are different facets to my job, but at the beginning of the month you can find me working diligently on the menus for the upcoming month for my schools. My company is a chef consulting company, ran by a chef who I work closely with to ensure that the quality of the food we serve in our school districts that we have contracted with is superior but that the food also meets the necessary guidelines. I also visit one of my schools once a week to meet with the Food Service Director and other staff, discuss any concerns and make sure everything is going as planned.
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
I was actually working for another company when a friend told me one of her work contacts was looking for a Registered Dietitian to contract with and make monthly menus. I thought it would be a great way to make extra money and broaden my experience. Within a few months I was offered a full time position for the upcoming school year. The Chef that owns and operates the company knows how important the nutrition component is for school meals and wanted my experience and opinion full time!
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I was born with the ability to adapt and appreciate change, which is very important in the field of dietetics. Just because you are a Registered Dietitian does not place you automatically in a hospital. However, you have to be willing to look at other avenues and understand that learning other jobs, even if they don’t have anything to do with nutrition, can help grow you professionally. One skill I was not born with was the ability to communicate effectively with a large amount of people. I learned a great deal about myself and public speaking through taking on speaking opportunities, even when it made me nervous and uncomfortable.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
Like I mentioned before, don’t be scared to try new things and learn new jobs. It is SO important to step out of your box. Take on extra side jobs or projects to help you learn new skills. Anything you can do to build your knowledge and expertise while building your resume is useful and will allow you to grow into positions you never thought you could grow into!
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what
would it be?
Seeing children eat a healthy meal – especially those that may not get to eat otherwise – is something that is so rewarding.