Hi everyone! I have some exciting news to share today: where I’m going to graduate school this fall! I can’t believe almost two years have gone by since I decided to make a career switch. It definitely flew by a lot faster than I anticipated because I was so busy. Throughout this process, there were many ups and downs; but, I’m thrilled to say that it was all worth it because at the end of this journey I will be Lauren Rice, MPH, RD! Before I get to the big announcement, let’s take a trip down memory lane.
In September 2013, I decided to actively pursue my dream of a career in dietetics. After researching potential programs, I started my first prerequisite class, Introduction to Nutrition, at a local community college in the DC area. Meanwhile, I was still working full-time and teaching at Biker Barre three days a week. In October 2013, I visited the UNC MPH/RD open house and applied to their program.
January 2014, I signed up for an Introduction to Microbiology class and learned that I was wait listed, and ultimately rejected from UNC. Because UNC was the only program I applied to, I spent the next year improving my applications for Fall 2015 programs.
Between April 2014-March 2015, I:
- Took Organic Chemistry, Human Anatomy and Physiology I, Introduction to Biochemistry, and Food Science
- Volunteered as a classroom assistant with the Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters program
- Visited UNC for a second time
- Visited the University of Washington and spent a day on campus
- Retook the GRE
- Applied to five programs: UNC, University of Washington, Johns Hopkins University, University of Minnesota, Colorado State University
And after all of that, I finally got the email that changed my life. I am so excited to share that this fall I will be moving to…
to start the coordinated MPH/Registered Dietitian program at the University of Washington.
The moment I got the email saying I had moved off the waiting list, I cried, ran downstairs and called my mom and Alex. For the rest of the day, I felt like I had just finished a marathon. I can honestly say it was one of the happiest days of my life.
Working for something – giving all that you’ve got – really teaches you to appreciate an accomplishment as soon as it’s achieved. To all of my loyal fans – family, friends, readers, thank you for your support and encouragement these past two years. It helped me more than I’ll ever be able to express in words.
What is a coordinated MPH/RD Program?
At the end of the two-year program, I will graduate with: a Masters of Public Health degree and I will be eligible to sit for the Registration Examination for Dietitians. The first year of the program is primarily devoted to course work for both the MPH and the RD requirements. The second year of the program focuses on the 1,200 hours of supervised practice experiences (internship) required to sit for the Registration Examination for Dietitians.
During the internship portion of the program, I will be working in the following rotations:
- Core Clinical
- Ambulatory Care
- Food Service
- MNT/PH Concentration
- Seminars and Clinical Case presentations
- Wellness Talks
I’m very excited to spend time in each of these concentrations and I hope that it will help solidify what I want to focus on after graduation.
Why did I choose UW?
You may have seen on instagram that I was also accepted into CSU’s Masters of Nutrition Program on Monday. I was very excited about the news and I know I would have been very happy there. I am also still on the waiting list at UNC and the University of Minnesota (the deadline for admission decisions is April 15th, so there will be a lot of movement in the next week as people make their final choice.) Despite the other options, here is why I ultimately accepted UW:
- I was more interested in pursuing an MPH than an M.S because I want to focus on community health and feel that I will be more marketable with an MPH degree
- University of Washington’s program is coordinated, which means that the 1,200 hours of supervised practice required to become an RD exam is integrated into the program. In programs that are not coordinated (such as the program at CSU,) I would have needed to apply for the internship experience separately after I graduated (or in CSU’s case, after the first semester.) The internship application process is very competitive (~50% acceptance rate) so I feel lucky to bypass that hurdle.
- University of Washington’s MPH program is ranked #6 in the country
- Our cohort is small (12 people)
- The faculty at University of Washington are incredible people – humble, welcoming, encouraging and wicked smart
- I will be training in world-class hospitals: The University of Washington Medical Center is a nationally renowned teaching hospital, and Harborview Medical Center is a level 1 adult and pediatric trauma center serving four surrounding states
- I love Seattle – the people, the beach, the trees, and all the green ♥
So what’s next?
My program starts in late September, so I will likely move at the beginning of September. I still need to figure out my living situation and a host of other details, but that will come with time. I also have two more courses to take: Human Anatomy and Physiology II and an online Food Science Course that UW requires.
So, there you have it! I hope you’ll stick around for the adventures to come over the next 3 years….it will be a very special and exciting time in my life! Thank you for reading and for your encouraging comments. They are so appreciated! xo