Dietetic Career Spotlight on Lauren Au, Nutrition Policy Institute
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on JULY 22, 2015
I originally met Lauren Au, PhD, RDN, at the Public Policy Workshop in Washington, DC, where she helped educate us on how to speak to your congressperson. Lauren has worked on Capitol Hill before and has an inside scoop on advocacy and policy. Read on to learn how Lauren has applied her political background with her love of research to land her dream job in sunny California. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
My interest in nutrition and dietetics was first sparked during an undergraduate nutrition seminar at U.C. Berkeley. Who knew that I would return almost a decade later to my alma mater? My passions in nutrition have transformed from initially wanting to counsel patients on preventing chronic disease to understanding how effective policies and research shape many of our nutrition programs today.
Your Job Title:
Company you are with now:
University of California’s Nutrition Policy Institute
– LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/lauren-au-phd-rd
A typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you:
Starts with swim practice, breakfast and emails, conference calls about current research projects, grant-writing, and data analyses.
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
Networking and persistence! After spending 7 years on the East Coast for graduate school and a Congressional fellowship in the U.S. Senate, I was determined to make my way back home to the Bay Area. I scheduled multiple informational interviews at various research institutions and I followed-up! They say that everything happens for a reason and I truly believe that the right job will come your way with grit, determination, and after plenty of rejections!
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I have always been a planner, extremely organized, and a people person. I have learned how to not take everything so personally and confidence in public speaking.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
Trust your gut. When you’re trying to find the right work environment, pay attention to your initial reaction. Also, remember to take breaks and have fun! I am a big proponent for work-life balance. In order to keep feeling rejuvenated and motivated to succeed, you need to take time for yourself.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?
Swim vacations and mangoes.