Marywood University News

Dietetic Internship Students in Action 2022

Meet the 2022 Marywood University Dietetic Interns

Brandi Kam

Brandi first attempted to apply to her undergrads DI Program. After a few tries, she continued to not match during the first round. It was challenging for her trying to decide what would be her next option being that her home state was Hawai’i and there aren’t really any in-state DI programs. She had to decide if making a move to live in a different state entirely and continue this journey was something she wanted to do. She honestly thought She was going to have to put the internship on the back burner and rethink her career goals. Then she received an email from Marywood and noticed they had a distance program and open spots for the second-round match. Brandi had her interview with Stephanie and after discussing the program with her, Brandi knew this was where she wanted to be. She found it all a blessing even after not getting accepted multiple times into her initial choice programs for two reasons. The first is that this is a coordinated program that provides her with internship experience and a master's degree. And most importantly, this allowed for her to stay in her own state (Hawai’i). Brandi says she is forever grateful for the email and for Stephanie and Micki’s warm welcome into Marywood's DI distance program.
A fun fact about Brandi is that she enjoys running and avidly trains for Marathon and distance running events.

Meals on Wheels
Brandi worked with 'Oahu's largest and only island-wide meal delivery service for seniors Lanakila Meals on Wheels. Lanakila Meals on Wheels believes that food is more than nourishment... food is what brings us together.

Hillary Ortiz-Luis

Hillary chose Marywood University because they had a coordinated program for a master’s degree along with the Dietetic Internship. Knowing that becoming an RD will soon require a graduate degree, she took this opportunity. She also really liked that this program was focused on Health Promotion and Wellness. Hillary really thinks that nutrition plays a big role in one’s health and wellness. She states that how we nourish ourselves is important for our physical and mental health, as we encourage and find the balance of what food means to our bodies while promoting cultural significance. Being able to find a program with this focus was important to Hillary as it will help shape her into the type of provider that she wants to become! She plans to take the RDN exam summer of 2023

18 Reasons
Hillary worked with 18 Reasons, a non-profit community cooking school located in San Francisco, California. Their vision is to create equity and belonging through the transformative and healing power of home cooking. Their mission is to empower our community with the confidence and creativity to buy, cook, and eat good food every day.

Samuel Rivera

Samuel chose Marywood's program because of the emphasis on health promotion, which is important to him. He believes that health can be achieved at any time in one's life and it is important to help our communities reach their goals. Samuel plans to take the RDN exam in July 2023.

Angelina Balestino

Angelina chose Marywood University's program because of the amazing faculty in the Nutrition and Dietetics department that encouraged her to succeed and made her feel at home during my undergrad. She will be able to finish with a Master's degree and complete a dietetic internship in five years.

Angelina is very passionate about working with older adults and looking at the quality of life. She plans to work in a nursing home facility after graduation.

Olivia Bressler

Olivia completed her Nutrition and Dietetics/Spanish undergraduate degree here at Marywood! She is completing the internship and master's degree in the distance track, allowing her to move to a new city and continue at Marywood. She decided to continue her studies at Marywood due to the great professors that help her immensely and the friends she made in the department.
Olivia is interested in pursuing a career in food systems management or in a clinical setting after passing the RDN exam. She is also considering working as a traveling RD to see and help other communities in need.

Community Efforts
Olivia interned at the Healthy Food Center at Allegheny General Hospital. Where she worked with dietitians and other team members to directly advise the Backpack program, which serves the greater Pittsburgh area. These bags are filled with a variety of nutritional 'goodies' and hygiene items for children in summer programs and those requiring assistance around the community. Items that you can find in the bag may be educational crackers, Dial soap, shampoo, fruit juices, pasta, hummus, milk, and other items.

Janelle Martinez

Janelle had never heard about Marywood University. It wasn’t until the second round match, that her DPD director at the time, emailed her Marywood’s information. Marywood had exactly what she was looking for! That was an MS in Sports and Human Performance Nutrition, as well as the opportunity to complete a dietetic internship. During the interview process, she immediately felt welcomed, so she accepted, packed her bags, and made a road trip from California to Pennsylvania without looking back.

Anh Nguyen

Anh chose Marywood for the coordinated program experience. The goal and focus of the program align closely with his values and career objectives. He loves that the program allows for the option of a distance track. This has given him the opportunity to stay in California and have the flexibility to create his own intern schedule.

B to Be Healthy
Anh leading a nutrition education class during his community rotation with Dr. Riba's Health Club.

Julianna Szatmari

Julianna chose Marywood for the coordinated program experience. Through this program, she has been successfully able to master her studies at her own pace while balancing her extracurricular activities. When she becomes an RD, she plans to specialize in eating disorders and gastrointestinal disorders as she had a strong passion for both. Julianna feels very fortunate to be a pacer!

Time and Temperature
Intern Julianna doing in-service training during her food service management rotation.

Emily Brown Truscott

Emily chose Marywood because this program allows her to pursue a Master’s degree and complete her dietetics internship from anywhere. she loved the freedom she has to be close to her family, connect with her community, and travel all while working to become a registered dietitian. Marywood is a close-knit community, and she always felt supported and empowered by the faculty and her peers. Emily has yet to choose an area of practice, but she knows her internship rotations will help point her in the right direction. She has special interests in pregnancy nutrition, lactation, and advocacy.

Angela Favorite

Angela was drawn to Marywood University because it is a faith-based university with a mission to serve others, which aligns with her own values. The distance internship has allowed her to stay in her home in Ohio to do her online coursework; while developing professional contacts in her area to build upon for her future work as a practicing dietitian. Angela will be graduating with her master’s in nutrition in May of 2023 and will take the CDR exam in June.

Ciara Sharkey

Ciara chose Marywood because she knew the small school environment would be the best for her to succeed. The nutrition and Dietetics department is phenomenal, and she knew that this was the place where she would be able to grow not only academically but also individually.
The area of practice that she is most interested in is Performance Dietetics. Upon graduation, Ciara hopes to work as a Sports Dietitian with the United States Military. She hopes to take the RDN exam in the Summer of 2023, after completing her master’s degree and dietetic internship.

Healthy Snacks in the Library
Ciara's Library Kids Healthy Snacks Event during her community rotation.

Head Start
Angela joined WIC staff at Head Start to measure children’s height, weight, and hemoglobin before students enrolled.

Wellness Center Demonstration
Intern Angela performed a cooking demonstration of pan-fried burritos for community and hospital staff in Wayne Healthcare Hospitals' new Wellness center kitchen.

Halleigh Ficarro

Halleigh chose Marywood because Marywood feels just like home to her. Halleigh's undergraduate years at Marywood allowed her to form great relationships with her fellow students and her professors. She feels that there is such great support and motivation in this program from the professors and staff. She could not imagine herself being a part of any other program. She says this is an amazing opportunity that will allow her to push herself to become the best person that she can be in her future career. She plans on pursuing a career in clinical nutrition and eventually working with oncology patients. Her target date for the RDN exam is the Summer of 2023!

Summer O.F.F.
Summer O.F.F. is a summer program that allows children to grow all while being with friends. At the program, Halleigh provided nutrition education on the importance of eating fruits and vegetables and on MyPlate. At each session, the students were provided with a healthy snack that went along with the lesson, and a game was played at the end of each session to allow the students to use the knowledge they learned.

Spaghetti Dinner for Preschoolers
Halleigh and, and fellow Marywood Intern Erikah Groninger, had the opportunity to provide nutrition education to parents on the preschool palate. A spaghetti dinner was made for 80 people and handouts were given to parents about what children eat, how to make those foods healthy, tips on picky eaters, and how children can help out in the kitchen.

Erikah Groniger

Erikah chose Marywood because the undergraduate program was so delightful. She enjoyed the professors, her close-knit cohort, and the feel of the small campus. She chose the internship and graduate program because it was efficient in getting everything completed in the 5-year track! She also chose this program because it has gotten amazing reviews from past graduates. She also feels very seen and heard by the internship coordinators and professors, and they make her feel like a priority. Erikah hopes to work in clinical for a few years to gain lots of experience, but her dream is to be a professor one day. Her target date for the RDN exam is the Summer of 2023!

Food-n-Fun at the Park
Erkiah worked with the YMCA, which has a summer program in which kids from different areas go to different parks and play throughout the day. During their day, we came to present all the different colors of fruits and vegetables and taught them the important nutrients in them.

Breast Cancer Awareness week & Halloween fun!
Erkiah participated in Breast Cancer Awareness week & Halloween fun during her management rotation. Erikah and the staff At Brookmont Rehabilitation wore costumes and did a parade for the residents.

Alex Geer

Alex chose Marywood because the Master's and Dietetic Internship program is unique. The program gives her the flexibility of a distance program yet the closeness and support of an in-person program! This program allows her to feel supported and the opportunity to work independently doing her rotations from her home state. In the future, Alex hopes to work with psychiatric patients and enter the field of Nutritional Psychiatry. She hopes to integrate nutrition into psychiatric healthcare and create a more holistic approach to mental health. She plans to take the RDN exam summer of 2023.

Johanna Kultys

Johanna chose Maywood because the distance program has allowed her the convenience to complete her degree and internship out of state. Their well-respected Dietetics program and high RDN exam pass rate give her the confidence that she will have the tools needed to excel in the field of dietetics. Johanna says the faculty and staff are kind and considerate and always make you feel welcome and at home. They are always willing to adapt and accommodate unique situations, especially as a non-traditional student. She will always be grateful for everything she has learned at Marywood! She plans to take the RDN exam sometime in the summer of 2023.

Kristen Lassell

Kristen chose Marywood’s internship program because this is where she completed her undergraduate degree as well. She fell in love with the nutrition program and the professors that helped mold her into the person she is today. All of the students in her undergraduate program became like family to Kristen, which encouraged her to continue in the program. Not only is the environment welcoming, but Marywood’s 5-year program caught her attention as well. The 5-year program allowed for her to obtain her Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, and do the internship all at once.
Kristen's preferred area of practice is pediatrics. She expects her to take her RDN exam in the summer of 2023.

Kassandra Riemer

Kassandra chose Marywood's dietetic internship program because of her amazing undergraduate experience here. She particularly likes the small class sizes that allow for connections with her peers as well as the professors. She feels like the professors are dedicated to assisting students to reach their maximum potential. She is looking forward to another year at this institution. Kassandra is interested in opening up her own private practice that specializes in eating disorders.

FENCE Orlando, Florida
On October 8th-11th, Kassandra had the opportunity to go and volunteer at the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FENCE) in Orlando, Florida. She volunteered in the House of Delegates booth.

Stacy Runde

Stacy started her internship search by looking for programs where she could do distance that also had a combined master’s degree. Marywood fit the bill, so she applied, but it has become so much more than that for Stacy. From her interview, she knew that she connected with Micki and Stephanie, and this was a place she could see herself! She knew that she would be able to get as much out of the program as she was willing to put into it, and Marywood's RD exam pass rate is stellar. The classroom professors have been great as well - she does not feel disconnected at all from the program, even though she lives in Iowa. Stacy knows she is learning what she needs to learn for her rotations as well as the RD exam and she is confident that she will be ready for whatever comes her way when she starts her rotations.

Sarah Sharp

Sarah did her undergraduate degree at Marywood and loved everything about it! Marywood was her top choice to continue her education and do her dietetic internship. She likes the community and faculty best.
Sarah's area of interest is community. Specifically, she wants to work with low-income families to aid them in providing low-cost, nutrient-dense meals.

Kyra Tedford

Kyra chose Marywood’s program because of its flexibility, high success rate, and because it is two-year program. Kyra is a mother to a toddler and also works part-time, so it was important to her to choose a program that was flexible and could work with her schedule. Kyra found that Marywood came highly recommended by other moms and working professionals. She also wanted a two-year program that had both the master’s degree and an internship to make sure she could take her time and really understand what she was learning before the beginning of her rotations. Marywood has a high success rate in both graduation and the RD exam. Although it was a distance program for Kyra, the director, advisors, and professors all have taken their time and helped her when needed. She feels confident in her knowledge and ability to be a Registered Dietitian all thanks to Marywood.
Kyra is interested in mental health and gastrointestinal health but she is also very open to working in different areas and expects to find other interests during her internship.

Heart Healthy
For Kyra's Health Promotion Project, she chose to focus on a Heart Healthy diet and lifestyle. Her target audience was Seniors ages 60 and over that received Meals on Wheels and attended a Congregate Meal Site at least once a week. All participants have a health issue that puts them at a higher risk for developing Heart Disease, one of the leading causes of death in Blount County and the United States. Her project went over the course of three weeks, with each week having a short game and nutrition education session.