Hi friends! Tonight marks the last night of my spring break. I just dropped my mom off at the airport and now I’m squeezing in a few episodes of House of Cards before Spring Quarter 2015 begins.
It’s hard to believe that my first six months in Seattle have come and gone. They have easily been the most academically challenging six months of my life, but also the most professionally and personally rewarding. Fall Quarter 2015 was a shock to the system as I transitioned back into the world of academia. I expected Winter Quarter 2016 to be easier, but it brought its own challenges 🙂
If I had to sum up Winter Quarter 2016 in two words, they would be: group work. We spent over 50% of the quarter working on teams to complete a variety of projects, assignments, and presentations. As much as we love one another, we enjoyed a few days away from the group setting over the break 😉
As a way to organize this post, I broke it out into various subsections. Feel free to skip around to what you are interested in learning more about.
Course work: Winter Quarter 2016
ENV H 511 ENVIRONMENTAL AND OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH (3 credits)
This was one of my favorite classes of the entire quarter. Our professor, Dr. Bill Daniel, is an incredible instructor who brought a mix of humor and idiosyncrasies to class. His teaching style was very dynamic and we applied the information that we learned outside of classes (via information he posted for us) to real-world case studies that we discussed as a class.
Throughout the quarter, we covered climate change, water and sanitation, chemical waste and contamination, workplace risk and assessment, air pollution, the built environment and healthy communities, and the food system.
NUTR 500 GRADUATE SEMINAR: FOOD ENTREPRENEURS (1 credit)
This quarter, our weekly seminar focused on food entrepreneurs from the Seattle-area. A variety of people came in to talk to us including a McDonald’s franchisee, a few restaurant owners, a registered dietitian with her own online business, and the founder of MarketShare (this was one of my favorite speakers!)
NUTR 513 FOOD AND SOCIETY (2 credits)
This was a new class for the quarter and gave us the opportunity to discuss issues surrounding food that extend beyond just nutrient content. The style of the class was a Socratic seminar in which different groups took turns asking the class thought-provoking questions about the readings. We covered topics such as: working conditions in restaurants, food waste, food ethics, the food system, food production, the environmental impacts of what we eat, industrial agriculture, and so much more.
I listed some of the books we read in this post.
NUTR 521 NUTRITION AND METABOLISM II (3 credits)
Lipids! Lipids! Lipids! We learned the ins and outs of lipolysis, lipogenesis, healthy fats, and the health implications of eating the wrong types of fat. (I really simplified this description, but I figured you prefer layman’s terms, anyway!)
NUTR 531 PUBLIC HEALTH NUTRITION (4 credits)
This class was divided up into two parts. The first was lecture (2X/week) where we talked about public health nutrition and the various models used to critically evaluate public health nutrition programs. The second part of class was the “lab” in which we completed a class project. I’ll talk more about the project below. Suffice to say, it was a lot of work, but we were very proud of the end product!
NUTR 545 FOOD SAFETY AND HEALTH (3 credits)
We covered topics such as HACCP, GMO’s, antibiotic resistance, The Food Safety and Modernization Act, pesticide-use, and more. I wrote two papers throughout the quarter on the 2011 Salmonella heidelberg outbreak that forced Cargill to recall 36M lbs of ground turkey, and on the safety of Stevia. I’m planning on doing a recap of my paper on Stevia in the next few weeks!
Group projects: Winter Quarter 2016
As part of our Public Health Nutrition Course, the entire class completed a group project. Our class compared the variety, price, and ‘quality’ of winter produce in 8 grocery stores to 4 different farmer’s markets in the Seattle-area. We developed all of the materials ourselves and collected data on 9 different produce items: apples, onions, kale, collard greens, pears, potatoes, squash, mushrooms, and carrots. At the end of the quarter, we presented our findings to stakeholders in the area. The picture above ↑ is from presentation day!
Professional development: Winter Quarter 2016
One of our responsibilities this quarter was to find a thesis advisor. At the beginning of the quarter, we attended a Research Forum where 10-12 faculty members shared their research interests and any current openings for students to assist them.
We were all eager to find a thesis advisor, so the weeks following the meeting were a little hectic. Overall, we all managed to find a project to help out with! I’ll be working with the business school to look at what motivates consumer choice when it comes to eating and buying food. I’m really excited! I don’t have a lot of details on my thesis project yet, but I’ll be sure to write another update when I do 🙂
Eeeek! The day we got these cards was a highlight of the quarter. This ID card is so much more than a piece of plastic. It represents 3 years of risk, challenge, and incredible opportunity. It’s really happening, guys!
Admitted Students Day
In mid-March, we met with the admitted students for Fall 2016. A few blog readers came up to talk to me (hi readers!). It was great to meet the prospective students that I only “knew” through email. I can’t wait to meet the entire incoming cohort!
TA-ing for Sports Nutrition
This quarter, I am one of three TA’s for Sports Nutrition taught by Dr. Liz Kirk. I am SO excited to be helping out with this class! As I mentioned, TA opportunities come with free tuition, a monthly stipend and health insurance. What a relief!
Other thoughts: Winter Quarter 2016
As I alluded to in my post a few weeks ago, I reflected a lot throughout winter quarter on where I needed to focus and devote my time. While I poured my heart into school, I also allowed myself the flexibility to take more breaks, pursue other hobbies, meet more people, build connections, and ask questions.
Life has a funny way of leading us to unexpected opportunities, so I always try to approach change optimistically. In winter quarter particularly, I learned that balance is key and that it’s okay to step away from a situation or opportunity that is not building me up, making me happier, or helping me grow.
Spring Quarter 2016 Courses
Finally, here’s what I have to look forward to this quarter. We’re moving into nutritional counseling and I can’t wait! We’re also taking fewer credits than ever before (only 13 credits!) so this quarter should slow down a little bit 🙂
- HSERV 510: Society and Health (3 credits)
- NUTR 522: Nutrition and Metabolism III (3 credits)
- NURT 536: Nutrition Education Principles and Practices (2 credits)
- NUTR 562: Nutrition and Chronic Disease (3 credits)
- NUTR 560: Nutritional Counseling For Chronic Disease (2 credits)
Please email me if you have any questions about the program or anything I talked about above. I love hearing from readers! Enjoy the rest of your week, friends! XO